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Around SA (269)

Festive season safety concerns

Durban - As KwaZulu-Natal prepares to welcome holiday visitors for the festive season, last yearís Christmas holiday death toll figures are a sobering reminder of the risks on the road, with the province recording the highest death toll in the country.

Crash scene investigator for 15 years, Stan Bezuidenhout, said he did not expect people to change their behaviour. ìPeople comply with road rules only when they saw the police, but once police were out of sight, they deliberately break the rules,î he said.

AA spokesman, Layton Beard felt there was still not enough law enforcement on the road. Many accidents were caused by poor driver behaviour and people who find drinking and driving acceptable, he said.

KZN Department of Transport spokesman, Kwanele Ncalane, said it was not only the governmentís responsibility to ensure road safety. The public also had an important role to play.

The roadblocks we use are not all about law enforcement, but are about educating people as well.î

Ncalane said KZN MEC for transport Willies Mchunu has tabled a plan for the festive season to the KZN cabinet. He said the plan focused on the N2, N3 and provincial highways. The departments would be assisted by the SAPS. The department would partner with the South Africa National Taxi Council where they will inspect the roadworthiness of taxis. Daily News

 

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Municipality distributes fire emergency kits

Cape Town - The City of Cape Town has issued over 800 enhanced emergency rebuilding kits to its fire-affected residents.

  The kits have cost the city over R4.2 million since the start of November, said Human Settlements MMC Benedicta van Minnen.

  She noted that the city experiences a surge in fires, and said that this yearís fire season was unusually dry. ìFires are a particular danger for residents living in informal settlements. The high density of these settlements and the highly flammable building materials result in the rapid spread of fires. In addition, the layout and the density of these settlements make it very difficult for the City to effectively respond to fires,î said Van Minnen.

  The kits consists of nails, poles, galvanised corrugated steel roof sheets, a door with a lock set or padlock, and a window to enable residents to replace housing structures that were affected or destroyed by fires.

  Van Minnen said fires affecting residents included recent fires over the weekend in Sea Winds, near Lavender Hill and in Elsies River.  The City also provides fire awareness and education campaigns to educate residents on the dangers of fires and how to prevent them. On December 1, the City of Cape Townís Mayor, Patricia de Lille launched the Misa Umlilo Stop the Fire campaign. ANA

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Initiation death toll rises in province 

Queenstown - Three more initiates have died in the province, pushing the toll in the first two weeks of the initiation season to 16.

  Traditional leaders said the situation forced them to look for alternative circumcision processes, but they were adamant male medical circumcision would not replace traditional initiation. 

  The three latest deaths were reported in Tantergate and Thornhill near Whittlesea in the Chris Hani district and in Barkly East, which falls within the Joe Gqabi district.

  Of the 16 deaths so far, nine have been reported in areas in the Chris Hani district, with the remaining ones shared among various areas in the province. 

   House of Traditional Leaders chairman Chief Ngangomhlaba Matanzima said the deaths were due to dehydration, assault, one died after an asthma attack while another is believed to have taken his own life.

  ìYou cannot in this hot weather deny initiates water; you are just killing them if you do that,î said Chief Matanzima. Daily Dispatch

 

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City hires service provider to mitigate Pikitup strike

Johannesburg - As the wildcat strike by hundreds of Pikitup workers enters its second week, the City of Johannesburg has appointed a service provider to clear the refuse collection backlog and normalise the service delivery programme. 

The Johannesburg CBD was virtually turned into a ìwaste-landî last week, with mounds of uncollected garbage strewn all over the streets after members of the South African Municipal Workersí Union (SAMWU) downed tools in protest against what they called nepotism and pay disparities. 

The announcement of the appointment of the service provider was made by Environment and Infrastructure Services MMC Matshidiso Mfikoe at a media conference at Pikitupís Selby depot on Sunday. MMC Mfikoe said although SAMWU was not supportive of this contingency plan and did not make a commitment to return to work, the City and Pikitup had an obligation to restore normal services to communities.

MMC Mfikoe, flanked by Pikitup Managing Director Amanda Nair, Chairperson of the Pikitup board Dr Trish Hanekom, Pikitup Chief Financial Officer Suren Maharaj and Chairperson of Pikitup Social Ethics and Human Resources Committee Setshego Bogatsu, apologised on behalf of the City and Pikitup for the disruption of waste management services and the severe inconvenience the strike, which was in defiance of a court order, had caused.

The MMC condemned the vandalism taking place in the city. ìThere can be no justification under any circumstances for trashing the city,î she said. 

The strike followed a request by SAMWU on November 19 to meet Pikitup management, including Nair, the following day. ìThis was not possible due to prior engagements and a commitment to schedule an extraordinary meeting on November 26 was made, notwithstanding that the proper place to raise these issues would have been in the monthly local labour forum. Our Constitution and the Labour Relations Act uphold the right of workers to protest and to withdraw their labour. Strike action, however, should always be a last resort and the decision of SAMWU to embark on an unprotected work stoppage is condemned in the strongest terms. Disciplinary processes and legal action will be taken against those responsible in the intimidation, violence and damage to property that ensued,î she said. 

MMC Mfikoe announced that the Pikitup board and management met SAMWUís leadership on Saturday. There was agreement at the meeting that the ongoing action was not in the interest of residents, the workers and the company.  

Nair said a massive clean-up of the inner city by the Red Ants started on Sunday and would cover the inner city, Joubert Park, Hillbrow, Braamfontein, Fordsburg and Yeoville. To deal with the backlog in informal settlements, additional refuse bags will be issued.

Residents are encouraged to place their refuse at central locations in their areas to ease collection. A process to confirm these central locations with the collaboration of ward councillors is in hand,î she said. 

  She urged residents to take out their bins in accordance with the normal refuse collection schedule. Nair said additional vehicles, plant equipment and manpower would be made available to augment capacity at each depot.

 

 

 

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Firefighters brace for ëfire seasoní

Stellenbosch - Firefighters across the Western Cape were expected to experience a difficult summer season ahead as dry conditions persist, Provincial Local Government MEC Anton Bredell said on Monday.

Over the weekend a fire devastated an informal settlement where lives were lost. Elsewhere we have experienced similar events,î Bredell said while launching the ìWestern Cape Fire Seasonî in Stellenbosch.

Bredell was referring to five fires in the Cape Peninsula which claimed the lives of at least six people. In the early hours of Sunday morning two people died and 1 000 shacks were destroyed during a fire at the Masiphumelele informal settlement. Four thousand people were left displaced.

 On Saturday one man died and 500 people were left homeless when a fire broke out in the Joe Slovo informal settlement in Langa. Elsewhere we have experienced similar events. I have no doubt that the upcoming season will be a long and hard test for firefighting entities,î Bredell said.  ANA

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MEC urges girls to desist from sexual activity

Mbombela - Mpumalanga legislature speaker Thandi Shongwe has warned schoolgirls from rural Schoemansdal against spending their December holidays engaging in regrettable sexual activities.

 During her visit to Lugebhuta Secondary School, south of Malalane, she warned girls to focus on their studies and avoid being sexually active at an early age. 

 I especially caution you to watch yourselves this festive season and not become targets of people who donít care about your future,î she said.

  Shongwe also warned the girls that while they write exams they should stay away from social media, unless they use such platforms to get assistance with their studies. ìAs your mother, I am requesting you to study hard and please suspend all social activities that will distract you from concentrating on your studies. I am also appealing to the parents to give children time to study,î she said.

  Shongwe also gave the pupils ìdignity packsî, which included sanitary towels, body lotion, deodorants and toothpaste.  

 School principal Bright Mdaka appreciated Shongweís continued support for the school.

  ìThe donation will go a long way in improving their self-esteem and restoring their dignity,î he said. News24

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Learners rewrite leaked exams

Polokwane - Over 17 000 matric pupils in Limpopo will be forced to rewrite two examination papers following an exam paper leak just over a week ago.

  Basic Education Department has confirmed that 17 500 matric pupils were set to rewrite, following investigation by a special task team. The task team had briefed Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga on the impact of the November 16 Life Science Paper Two leak.

  Education department spokesman Elijah Mhlanga said the department has resolved that pupils from the Vhembe district would re-write Life Sciences Paper One and Paper Two. ìThis decision was taken after it was confirmed that a copy of the 2015 National Senior Certificate examination paper for Life Sciences was circulated among some learners before the start of the exam.î

  Pupils at Marude Secondary school in Thohoyandou were found in possession of the paper days before the examination. It is alleged that an official close to the examination process leaked the paper to pupils at the school, who in turn distributed the paper to their friends via social media. Mhlanga said criminal investigation was also initiated as the NSC examinations are protected through legislation. The Hawks have taken over the investigation covering the three provinces implicated. ANA

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Police crack hijack syndicate

Durban - Bayview detectives believe they have cracked a syndicate that could be linked to a spate of hijackings in the Chatsworth suburb.

An early morning encounter with occupants of a grey VW Polo on Tuesday led to a shootout and the killing of one suspect. Another was arrested while a third is on the run. Police spokesman Captain Thulani Zwane said in recent months there had been a spike in hijackings in the Bayview area leading police to believe that a syndicate was operating there. ìOn Tuesday officers spotted a grey VW Polo driving at high speed along Sheridan Road. The occupants noticed that the police were following them and opened fire on police. Police returned fire and the suspects crashed their vehicle. One suspect was fatally wounded, the second was arrested and the third escaped. The vehicle had been hijacked in another area in Chatsworth.î

KwaZulu- Natal police commissioner Lt-Gen Mmamonnye Ngobeni commended the police involved.

We will work around the clock to arrest the suspect who fled,î she said.   IOL

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Govt monitors initiation season

Mthatha - Provincial authorities in the Eastern Cape have put 35 vehicles in the field to monitor the summer initiation season in the province.

The initiative is part of a joint campaign by the provincial government and the house of traditional leaders to curb deaths. The vehicles will be used to monitor hotspots and close down illegal initiation schools.

MEC for Health Phumza Dyantyi says 20 of the cars will be sent to the OR Tambo region, which had 20 deaths out of the 29 in the province during the winter circumcision period.

Nine doctors will also monitor hot spots. There are 150 people on the field in different areas, helping in the monitoring of the circumcision points,î she says.

Chairperson of the Eastern Cape House of Traditional Leaders Ngangomhlaba Matanzima says they will eradicate illegal circumcision practices. ìWe are going to fight illegal circumcisions in the province and we are going to win.î

According to Matanzima, the MEC issued a circular letter to all traditional leaders that they should be responsible for initiation in their various areas. 

They should take steps to confront all these illegal things. Thereís a bill tabled before Parliament which is going to address exactly this difficulty,î he adds. SABC

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Cops move in to stem gang war

Cape Town - The new head of the SAPS Operation Combat, Brig Cass Goolam has warned gangsters to stop leave the province.

  In the new gang war in the Cape Flats six people have been shot dead in less than 10 days. Police confirmed that two men were shot dead in Ottery on Friday and three more in Hanover Park over the last five days. Another man was killed in suspected gang violence in Elsies River at the weekend.

  Goolam said: ìWe know who these guys are. The focus is on getting more resources for the operation, and mobilising residents of Mitchells Plain, Ottery, Manenberg, Hanover Park, Elsies River and Bonteheuwel.î

  Safety and Security MEC JP Smith said: ìWe had multiple flare-ups all over the Cape Flats. In Elsies River, officers confiscated an R4 rifle. Our officers there with 9mm pistols are being shot at with automatic rifles.î 

  Police spokesperson Noloyiso Rwexana said a 14-year-old Hanover Park boy was shot dead on Sunday, and no one had been arrested for the murder. That came a day after residents took to the streets, calling on government to curb the shootings. Two people were also shot dead last Wednesday. A man was arrested for the double murder. IOL

 

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