A couple, accused of murdering both their baby daughters, are the subject of a national police manhunt.]]> |||
Johannesburg - Junaid Mohamed Shaik and his partner Stacey-Lee van der Ross appear happy as they pose in a picturesque scene in an undated photo.
But now the Roodepoort couple, who are accused of murdering both their baby daughters, are the subject of a national police manhunt.
This week it emerged the pair failed to appear for their trial at the South Gauteng High Court for the murder and abuse of their five-month-old baby Alaia Adam-Shaikand and their second-born daughter, Amanee.
She died three months after her birth in December 2013, allegedly also at the hands of her parents. They buried her without informing the police of her death.
Gauteng police told the Saturday Star this week the couple were facing two murder charges for killing their children. The State had added the second charge after a post-mortem was performed on Amanee.
“A warrant for their arrest has been issued,” said Gauteng police spokesman Lieutenant-Colonel Lungelo Dlamini.
“When their second child died, they failed to follow legal processes and later buried the child,” he said.
The police were following several leads to arrest the pair.
It is believed the couple abused baby Alaia from her birth in May 2012 until her death in October that year.
She was injured on numerous occasions and it emerged in court that one of her arms was so badly broken, it was equivalent to the injury from a fall from a two-storey building. Her legs had also been broken.
The couple reportedly told relatives that their children died after “choking”.
Their trial was trial set down for February but they never arrived. They failed to pitch for another court appearance last month. They reportedly fled after hearing they were being investigated for Amanee’s murder.
On Friday, relatives of Van der Ross did not want to speak to Saturday Star, claiming they knew nothing about the case.
But her mother, Avril, in a recent Beeld article, said the couple had struggled to have children. Van der Ross suffered a miscarriage shortly before Alaia’s birth, she revealed.
“She is a beautiful person. She always gives… she was a loving mother. Alaia was a beautiful baby. They both looked after her,” she said.
She had reported her daughter missing on February 18, days before the couple’s trial was due to begin on February 23.
“Stacey, please give yourself in. We will stand by you,” she implored her daughter.
The couple’s R5 000 bail had been revoked, the National Prosecuting Authority said.
The police confiscated Shaik’s passport, which expired in 2013 .
* If you have information on the couple’s whereabouts, please contact investigating officer Colonel Noxolo Kweza at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ebrahim Mohamed Ali comforted refugees fleeing violence in KZN and parts of Joburg, seeking refuge at his coffee shop.]]> |||
Johannesburg - Ebrahim Mohamed Ali spent this week comforting refugees fleeing violence in KwaZulu-Natal and parts of Joburg, seeking refuge at his Mayfair coffee shop.
But he battles to face his own painful memories of South Africa’s deadly 2008 xenophobic attacks. That’s when a gang of locals stormed his panelbeating workshop, stripped it, and murdered his brother.
“They took everything from me and killed my brother because he was a Somali national.”
Now again, Ali feels hopeless amid the horrific resurgence of attacks.
“All of us, we are scared. This is a big problem, but the government does nothing. Nobody responds.”
No one was arrested for his brother’s murder.
In the years since 2008, xenophobic violence has claimed many more lives, according to Jean-Pierre Misago, a researcher at Wits University’s African Centre for Migration and Society.
Misago told the Saturday Star that because perpetrators of the 2008 attacks were never prosecuted, those involved in the continuing attacks “have a licence”.
“They know they can get away with it. What is happening now is not a surprise. Since 2008, there have been no mechanisms to put in place to prevent it. We only hear political pronouncements that are not accompanied by concrete measures.
“The perpetrators are not held accountable and a culture of impunity develops. We have places where the violence has happened three, four or five times and no one in is held accountable. The violence never stopped. The numbers suggest that the 62 people who died in 2008 does not compare to all the people who have died every year since.”
Misago noted that since the dawn of democracy, tens of thousands of people had been harassed, attacked or killed just because of their status as “outsiders” or foreign nationals.
While the May 2008 attacks and violence targeted almost all foreign nationals and South Africans deemed “outsiders”, targets this time appear to be Somali, Ethiopian, Bangladeshi and Pakistani nationals, operating small businesses in townships and informal settlements across the country, he said.
Rainbow nation’s statistics of shame
* Between mid-2009 and late 2010 – 20 deaths, 40 serious injuries, 200 foreign shops looted, 4 000 people displaced.
* 2011 – 120 foreign nationals killed – five burnt alive, 100 seriously injured, 1 000 displaced, 120 shops closed.
* 2012 – 140 deaths, 250 serious injuries.
* 2013 – An average of three major violent attacks recorded every week.
Source: Jean Pierre Misango, Wits
Cops are struggling to make an impact in the fight against nyaope because 99 percent of cases are thrown out of court.]]> |||
Cape Town - Police are struggling to make an impact in the fight against nyaope – the drug cocktail ravaging township youth – because 99 percent of cases are thrown out of court, and there is not yet any scientific definition of the drug.
Deputy national commissioner for policing Lieutenant-General Khehla Sithole said on Friday police were being frustrated by cases that never got on to the court roll, because prosecuting authorities considered the quantities involved too small.
He said the latest data showed that between 98 and 99 percent of all cases against “the nyaope kids” were not placed on the roll.
He was responding to concerns raised by MPs over the lack of a target in the SAPS annual performance plan – which police officials presented in Parliament this week – for the recovery of nyaope.
ANC MP Angie Molebatsi complained the drug was “tearing our communities apart”, yet was not mentioned in the plan.
Sithole said the SAPS had identified 24 hotspots in the country as part of a programme targeting nyaope.
But national police commissioner General Riah Phiyega said the courts were lagging behind crime trends in viewing quantities as too small for prosecution.
“What they’re forgetting is that we have become a consuming country as opposed to a transit country. Those small quantities, that’s where the destruction of our youths comes from,” Phiyega said.
Street robberies were increasing as youths stole small valuables to sell for money to buy the drug.
“Our courts remain behind because they’re looking at size from a wrong dimension while there’s major erosion in society,” Phiyega said.
Sithole said drug dealers deliberately kept the “packets” small so they couldn’t be prosecuted.
MPs were alarmed to hear there was as yet no scientific definition of the drug, making it harder for police to crack down on the base chemicals instead of pursuing users.
“We did not necessarily have all the information as to what it’s made of. We know the dominating chemical is heroin, but forensic services is assisting us,” Sithole said.
Molebatsi said this news made her “very worried”.
“It’s very easy to know what is in there. In the shopping complex in Garankuwa, I went and sat on a crate next to them as they were mixing these things. I can tell you what they put in there, including ceramic tile, rattex, I can count them all,” Molebatsi said.
The key to “killing the drug” would be tackling the trafficking of heroin, he said.
He said Phiyega would be speaking to the authorities about the difficulties police had with cases being thrown out of court.
A fire broke out at Sapref’s oil refinery, the second major fire in the south Durban in three weeks.]]> |||
Durban - A fire broke out at Sapref’s oil refinery on Friday night, the second major fire in the south Durban in three weeks.
It is believed a pipe that runs near the perimeter of the refinery, next to the Umlaas canal, caught fire, and caused a thick belt of smoke and flame to billow across the darkened skyline.
Local residents watched from across the Umlaas canal as emergency workers doused the flames. The fire had been put out about an hour after it began.
Local resident Shrivar Singh, said they heard three explosions at about 9.30pm which caused his home to “vibrate”.
“People initially thought it was an earthquake but then we saw the fire at the refinery,” he said.
This is the second major fire in the south Durban area in three weeks. At the end of March, a fire broke out inside a warehouse in South Coast Road, Mobeni, belonging to Africa Sun Oil Refineries. it had stored sunflower oils and soaps.
Staff tried to put out the blaze but failed, and eThekwini emergency workers battled the flames for several hours.
Desmond D’Sa, of the South Durban Environmental Alliance, said he was alerted to the fire last night after he heard three huge explosions in Wentworth some distance away.
He said, alarmingly, this was the second fire, and there was still no concrete emergency plan from the municipality.
Sapref had not issued a statement at the time of going to press.
Independent on Saturday]]>
Most foreign-owned spaza shops in Alexandra had already been looted by Saturday morning, Gauteng police have said.]]> |||
Johannesburg - By 2am on Saturday morning most foreign-owned spaza shops in Alexandra, Johannesburg had already been looted, police told Independent Media on the third night of xenophobic violence in Gauteng.
Independent and other journalists followed policemen trying to stabilise the situation.
The streets around the men’s hostel in Alexandra were empty except for young men moving in groups.
In one incident, when police tried to arrest one young man, the rest of the group he was with attempted to throw rocks at police.
Roads were also barricaded with burning tyres and big rocks.
One injured and crying foreigner who was beaten ran away from the police despite their attempts to try and protect him.
A 34-year-old North West man has been handed a life sentence for raping his 80-year-old grandmother.]]> |||
Rustenburg – A man convicted of raping his grandmother was sentenced to a life imprisonment at the Mmabatho Regional Court, North West police said on Friday.
Colonel Sabata Mokgwabone said the 34-year-old man was sentenced on Thursday.
He was arrested for raping his 80-year-old grandmother at Lonely Park near Mahikeng in December 2012. He was visiting his grandmother at the time.
“It was reported that the old woman eventually twisted the accused’s privates after he ordered her to insert it into her private part.”
He became unconscious and the granny hit him with an object on the head. He sustained a head injury.
The incident was reported to the police and he was apprehended.
One person died and five others were injured in a collision between two cars on the R40 Hilltop, just outside Nelspruit.]]> |||
Johannesburg - One person died and five others were injured in a collision between two cars on the R40 Hilltop, just outside Nelspruit, on Friday, ER24 reported.
“ It is understood the vehicles collided head on,” ER24 said. “When ER24 paramedics and other services arrived on scene they found one person entrapped in one of the vehicles. Fire and Rescue Services extricated the person, a man believed to be in his 40’s, who was trapped. Unfortunately there was nothing paramedics could do for him. He was declared dead.
“All other patients were assessed and it was found that two patients, women, sustained moderate injuries and three patients, men, sustained minor injuries.”
The injured were treated and transported to hospital for further treatment. Authorities were on scene for further investigations.
A 28-year-old man has been arrested for attacking a 91-year-old man and his 53-year-old paraplegic daughter in Park Rynie.]]> |||
Durban - Police have arrested a 28-year-old suspect on charges of house robbery, rape and attempted theft of a motor vehicle following an attack on a 91-year-old man and his 53-year-old paraplegic daughter in their Park Rynie home in Scottburgh.
Provincial police spokesperson Jay Naicker said: “It is alleged that sometime between 10pm on Tuesday, 14 April, and the following morning at 2am, two unknown men broke a window and gained entry into the house. The occupants heard the sound of breaking glass and when the man went to investigate, he was confronted by the two suspects in the passage-way. They assaulted him and demanded money and computers. One of them took the nonagenarian with him to search the rooms, while the other took the man’s daughter into the bedroom. When the suspects left, the daughter was found naked in the room.”
Members of the Umzinto K9 Unit, Scottburgh Cluster Detective Task team and Crime Intelligence joined forces to identify and track down the suspects involved.
“On Thursday afternoon, at 4pm, a 28-year-old suspect was arrested at a tavern in Park Rynie. A cellphone and other property allegedly stolen during the house robbery, was recovered from him. He is in police custody and is due to appear in the Scottburgh Magistrates’ Court on Monday. He has since also been linked to a case of malicious injury to property and an assault in Park Rynie.”
Meanwhile, the team of police officials was also hunting for another two suspects who were involved in another house robbery in 2nd Street, Park Rynie, which had occurred the day before.
“One of them was arrested this morning in in shack dwelling in Oceanic Grove, Park Rynie. A 9mm pistol was recovered in his possession. A TV that had been stolen and sold to a foreign national, was recovered by investigators. The foreign national was charged with receiving stolen property and he paid an admission of guilt fine of two thousand rands. The arrested suspect will also appear in the Scottburgh Magistrates’ Court on Monday.”
Eskom says SA will be in stage 2 load shedding for most of Friday due to a shortage of generation capacity.]]> |||
Cape Town - Eskom announced that South Africa would be in stage 2 load shedding for most of Friday due to a shortage of generation capacity.
Eskom issued a statement late on Friday afternoon to say it had moved from stage 1 to stage load shedding as from 10am and that this was expected to continue until 10pm on Friday.
“This is due to a further shortage of generation capacity and to build up reserves to lessen the impact of load shedding,” the power utility said.
“The electricity supply system remains very vulnerable due to a shortage of generation capacity as several units are currently out of service due to planned and unplanned outages,” Eskom added.
The students of the Mangosuthu University of Technology are expected to lead the fight against xenophobia, said Minister of Human Settlements Lindiwe Sisulu.]]> |||
Durban – The students of the Mangosuthu University of Technology (MUT) are expected to lead the fight against xenophobia, said Minister of Human Settlements Lindiwe Sisulu on Friday.
“Judging by your academic performance and that of all students here today, we are convinced that you have a responsibility to say no to xenophobic violence being perpetrated by few criminals in our country against our own brothers and sisters,” said Sisulu, also the Chancellor of MUT, at their graduation ceremony.
Xenophobic attacks flared up in KwaZulu-Natal in recent days and had since spread to parts of Gauteng.
Sisulu called on MUT’s Student Representative Council to join forces with the student body to stand up against xenophobia.
“l call on you to be vocal and to stand tall and loud in saying no, this cannot be done in our name, not in our country and continent,” she said.
“We must isolate these criminals, arrest them, and put them in prison,” said Sisulu.
A new movement has emerged to tackle "institutionalised racism" at Stellenbosch University.]]> |||
Cape Town - The transformation spotlight has turned to Stellenbosch University (SU), where a new movement has emerged to tackle “institutionalised racism” at the university.
Open Stellenbosch (OS) - a group of students, staff and faculty workers from the university - held an open discussion on campus on Wednesday to highlight racial exclusion and the university’s language policy.
“The current language policy at Stellenbosch University belies the university’s own vision statement in so far as it excludes many students by privileging the Afrikaans language as a medium of instruction.
“We further hold that this privileging of Afrikaans as a medium of instruction translates itself to a privileging beyond the classroom and simply communication.
“It extends into the social fabric of our residences and other shared spaces, where black people are consequently maligned,” said OS spokesman Lwazi Pakade.
Pakade said OS was formed recently due to a lack of action on the part of university management in relation to incidents of racial assault and ongoing racism at the university and in the town.
SU spokesman Martin Viljoen admitted that the university’s campus culture had been unwelcoming in the past, but management has since moved to remedy this.
“The management of Stellenbosch is wholeheartedly committed to transformation and recognises the need to accelerate and deepen the process of systemic transformation.
The university is up front about this and has stated that progress has been made with regard to access and success, institutional language flexibility, integration, welcoming practices and student support, but challenges with regard to high-level representation and perceptions of the institutional culture remain,” he said.
Pakade said OS had been inspired by the Rhodes Must Fall movement, a similar organisation at UCT, which inspired the recent removal of a statue of Cecil John Rhodes from that campus after highlighting transformation problems at the university.
“Taking the language policy as a point of departure, we intend to reframe discussions about transformation to include aspects of institutionalised racism, as well as acknowledging the flagrant racism which is the result both of the legacies of apartheid as well as colonialism.
“We insist on purging the oppressive remnants of apartheid from this institution,” Pakade said.
Viljoen said the SU council had approved a new language policy in November last year, offering English as a language of tuition the same status as Afrikaans at the university.
Meanwhile, the UCT council has decided to apply for the permanent removal of the Rhodes statue from the campus.
The university also announced, following a council meeting on Wednesday night, that public consultation for the permanent removal of the statue had begun.
UCT spokeswoman Gerda Kruger said Heritage Western Cape had given the university an emergency permit for the temporary removal and safekeeping of the statue on March 31. She said the application process includes a statutory assessment of the history, context and heritage significance of the statue.
Comments for the public process can be sent to email@example.com
Over 22 000 babies were stillborn in 2013, and most babies who did not survive their first week were black.]]> |||
Pretoria - More than 22 000 babies were stillborn to South African mothers during 2013, and statistics show that in three years including that year, most babies who did not survive the first week of life were black.
Most stillborn babies were in KwaZulu-Natal (24 percent), followed by Gauteng with 23 percent, said Statistician-General Pali Lehohla, adding the figures were indicative of the big populations of both provinces.
Perinatal deaths are the combination of foetuses born dead (stillbirths) and babies that die in the first week after birth (early neonatal deaths).
Lehohla released a report on the country’s 2011 to 2013 perinatal death trend on Thursday, in which he said Gauteng’s perinatal deaths were followed by those in the Western Cape (9.7 percent) and Limpopo (9.6 percent).
With 3 percent of total perinatal deaths, the Northern Cape had the least in 2013.
“The distribution of perinatal deaths by population group throughout the three-year period showed black Africans contributed a higher percentage of perinatal deaths each year,” he said.
More male babies have died either at birth or within the first 24 hours, or soon into their first week of life, a trend the statistician said was carried through from 1997.
The World Health Organisation says the perinatal period age of viability begins at 22 weeks of pregnancy for stillbirths and ended within the first seven days of life for early neonatal deaths.
The report said the highest proportion of stillbirths (foetus and newborn) was attributed to maternal factors and complications of pregnancy, labour and delivery, while the 10 leading causes of death for neonates were respiratory and cardiovascular disorders.
“Over the same period, the second leading cause of death for age groups 1-23 hours and 24-167 hours was disorders related to length of gestation and foetal growth,” it said.
Disorders related to length of gestation and foetal growth moved from fourth in 2011 and 2012 for neonates aged less than one hour to the second leading cause in 2013.
Over the three years, half the perinatal deaths occurred between 24 hours and seven days, the report said, adding that in 2013 the number of deaths before the first hour of birth decreased from 22 percent in 2011 to 2.6 percent in 2013, while early neonatal deaths between one hour of birth and 23 hours, increased from 20 percent to 34 percent.
Lehohla said perinatal deaths were an indicator of the quality of prenatal, obstetric and neonatal care.
“They provide the information needed to improve care for pregnant women, newborn babies and new mothers,” he said.
Two pedestrians were killed in a taxi collision at the taxi rank in Union Street, Vereeniging.]]> |||
Vereeniging - Two pedestrians were killed in a taxi collision at the taxi rank in Union Street, Vereeniging on Friday, ER24 said in a statement.
The paramedic service said a taxi driver lost control of the vehicle and collided with a market stall, hitting a man and woman in the process.
Paramedics found the man and the woman lying dead near the destroyed stall.
Police were on scene investigating.
Two police officers have been arrested for corruption in King William’s Town, after they allegedly demanded a bribe from a drunk driver.]]> |||
Mthatha - Two police officers have been arrested for corruption in King William’s Town, Eastern Cape police said on Friday.
“Port Elizabeth Organised Crimes Unit arrested two Mount Road South African Police Service (SAPS) members on Wednesday morning, after an instruction was issued by the Director of Public Prosecutions,” said EC police spokesperson Colonel Sibongile Soci.
The two officers, 42-year-old Sergeant Mzwandile Mventshana and 36-year-old Constable Khayalethu Hlamvana had allegedly asked for bribe from a motorist.
“It is alleged that on December 30 2014, the two members were driving in a marked police vehicle, stopped a motor vehicle, and accused the driver of driving under the influence of alcohol,” said Soci.
The officers had allegedly proceeded to demand R150.00 in return for them not laying a charge against him.
The suspects appeared in a local court on two counts of corruption.
“The case was remanded for 29 April 2015 for legal representation. The suspects are out on warning,” said Soci.
South Africans working at an oil refinery in Mozambique had to evacuate the site after receiving death threats.]]> |||
Durban - SOUTH Africans working in Mozambique are being targeted in apparent tit-for-tat xenophobic attacks – and are likely to return home on Friday as a result.
The development appeared to be reprisals for Mozambicans being affected by violence in Durban.
Sasol said on Friday that it would be repatriating 340 South Africans working at its projects in Mozambique.
Sasol said as a result of the repatriation, work at some of its projects had been halted temporarily.
On Thusday about 140 South Africans, mostly from Wentworth, south Durban, came face to face with the ugly effects of xenophobia at the Sasol Petroleum processing facility in the country’s Inhassoro district, Inhambane province.
Clint Pieterse, 43, a supervisor and pipe fitter at the facility, told how they were threatened when they turned up for work.
Mozambicans working at the plant and local residents began demonstrating outside the main gates, he said.
“The situation was volatile. They were chanting and throwing objects in our direction. They said we needed to leave because of what is happening in South Africa,” said the father-of-three from Wentworth. “They even said they would kill us.
“We evacuated the site and the company moved us into a resort. We are split up in small groups to make it seem like we are tourists,” he said.
On Friday morning Pieterse said the South Africans had slept at a lodge in Inhassoro to keep them safe.
“Fortunately there have been no other incidents overnight, but it is still tense here. All we want is to come home now.”
He said they were waiting to hear from the company about their travel plans back to South Africa. “There’s been no feedback so far.
“The men here are tense and we want to go home. We all have families,” he said. “Being in this situation is new to us. We came here to work, not to fight.”
Pieterse said he was unaware of violence in Durban because the television news channels were not working at the facility.
“Some of the guys were made aware via social media sites on their phones.” He said the workers’ contracts ran for a year.
“There are 140 South Africans, 70 percent from Wentworth.”
Speaking to the Daily News on Thursday, his worried wife, Carmen, said her husband had frantically phoned her, asking for help.
“He was panicking. He said ‘help me quickly, get hold of the councillor or a Wentworth forum. We are being attacked in Mozambique. The gates to the plant have been locked and they are threatening to kill us’.
“He called back in 10 minutes telling me to hurry up as it was a matter of life and death.”
Wentworth ward councillor, Aubrey Snyman, said he called the owner of the company that recruited the staff and was told of the situation.
“I immediately phoned the mayor’s office and informed them. They told me they would inform the government,” he said.
“I empathise with the families waiting for any news of their sons’ or husbands’ safety.”
Since the call, Pieterse’s wife has not eaten and held her phone close to her in the hope that he would call again. She said her husband, who had been a pipe fitter for 24 years, had been to the Democratic Republic of Congo several years ago and had been looking forward to going to Mozambique.
He went on Friday, April 3.
“Strangely, in the first week he was enjoying it. He said the Mozambicans were friendly. Now things have changed,” she said. “I am stressed and have not slept well. I don’t know what’s going on.”
At midday on Thursday, Carmen received a call from Clint saying they had been put on a bus and taken to a safer location from where they would be flown out today.
The couple have two sons – Seth, 23, Malik, 15, a daughter, Rene, 8, and a 1-year-old grandson, who are waiting for his return.
Spokesman for the Department of International Relations and Co-operation, Nelson Kgwete, said they were not aware of any threats made against South Africans in Mozambique.
An international ice hockey match between SA and Israel at the Grand West Ice Rink was disrupted by an anti-Israel protest.]]> |||
Cape Town - An international ice hockey match between South Africa and Israel at the Grand West Ice Rink was disrupted by an anti-Israel protest on Thursday night.
Cape Town activist, Bram Hanekom, a leader of the protest at the rink, said he was assaulted by security guards whom he alleged were part of the Israeli ambassador’s security detail.
However, Michael Farr, spokesman for Sun City International, denied the assault and said protesters threw marbles on the ice and had then been evicted.
Protesters from the Congress of South African Students and the ANC Youth League, as well as the National Coalition for Palestine, had bought tickets and entered the arena at the beginning of the match, said Anglican priest June Major, who took part in the protest.
Major said Hanekom was singled out during an interval and dragged out of the venue.
“They attacked him and beat him up,” she said.
“There were about 80 to 100 protesters, but most remained outside because they were doing racial profiling at the doors,” Major said.
“There was no warning, we were peaceful. Bram only had a South African flag, I had a Palestinian flag.”
Hanekom this morning said he had bruises but no broken ribs.
“We went to express our view that the Israeli government, the State of Israel, should not be recognised by South Africa, and that the Western Cape government who hosted the tournament should not give the Israelis this platform,” Hanekom said.
He said he was certain that the security staff had a different uniform to that of the Grand West security staff and that he had heard one say over the radio th at “their man was safe”. He believed this was a reference to the Israeli ambassador, who attended the match.
The Israeli embassy denied that their security had been at the venue.
Aggrieved staff from the City of Cape Town's Fire and Rescue Service have called for the head of the city's fire chief.]]> |||
Cape Town - Aggrieved staff from the City of Cape Town’s Fire and Rescue Service have called for the resignation of the city’s fire chief amid allegations that workers are called “dogs” and racially discriminated against.
The workers have asked the regional leadership of the South African Municipal Workers Union (Samwu) to meet with them on Friday at the Goodwood fire department.
Mike Khumalo, Samwu regional secretary, said in a statement: “Workers are demanding answers from their chief Ian Schnetler of continued grievances of discrimination.” He said there were several instances where management had failed to act. Pregnant firefighters were barred from claiming benefits, while firefighters who were injured during routine fitness tests were blocked from being promoted, Khumalo said. There were also reports of senior staff referring to black firefighters as dogs.
He added that senior management were seldom disciplined for any transgressions. “This inconsistent application of discipline along racial lines is condoned by city officials while, on the other hand, ordinary workers are being dismissed in numbers every day for doing nothing.”
But Richard Bosman, executive director of Safety and Security, said the city had not yet received a list of grievances from the union.
“However, it appears that the allegations may stem from one single case, where a senior member is facing a disciplinary hearing for ill-treating a trainee. Samwu has been informed of the progress in this matter.”
Bosman said pregnant firefighters were placed on day shift to avoid any risk to themselves or their babies. As per the fire services’ collective agreement, staff members who cannot perform their operational duties no longer qualify for a standby allowance.
Bosman said all members of the city’s Fire and Rescue Service were required to be physically fit and the annual assessment test ensured that all members were able to perform their operational duties. Pregnant firefighters were exempt from the test.
Bosman said Samwu and the Independent Municipal and Allied Trade Union were invited to nominate members to serve on a task team to assess these fitness tests. Samwu did not provide any names.
Khumalo said the city had warned workers that any attempt to voice their unhappiness as a collective would be seen as an illegal strike. “We have tried to meaningfully engage on these issues, but for Schnetler it’s like the department is his farm and no one can tell him what to do. Samwu will continue to fight these injustices and Schnetler should do the honourable move by tabling his resignation with immediate effect.”
A KZN man has been sentenced to 20 years in prison for the murder of a metered taxi driver.]]> |||
Durban - A man was sentenced to 20 years in prison for the murder of a metered taxi driver this week, while his two-co-accused are standing trial.
Zamokuhle Dlamini, 25, pleaded guilty to the murder and aggravated robbery of 21-year old taxi driver, Trevor Mbhele, who was stabbed on June 7 last year by a gang of men who wanted to steal his car.
Pietermaritzburg High Court Judge Rishi Seegobin sentenced Dlamini to 20 years in prison. Dlamini is one of the key witnesses against his alleged cohorts, Siyanda Ngcobo, 20, and Mzwandile Shelembe, 18.
According to Dlamini’s plea, he and his friends had decided to rob someone of their vehicle because they knew of a client who wanted to buy a stolen vehicle.
“We conspired to rob any person we encountered of their vehicle. On June 7, we went to town to find a car. We went to Vather’s Tavern and started drinking beer. We also took ecstasy tablets,” Dlamini said.
He said he stepped outside the tavern for a little while when he saw a metered taxi.
Dlamini said he approached Mbhele, the driver of the taxi, on the pretext of hiring him to transport him and his accomplices to their homes later that night.
The unsuspecting Mbhele agreed and later that night, the group of young men got into the metered taxi and directed Mbhele to Edendale. Once they reached Nhlazatshe, Mbhele brought the taxi to a stop once he reached a gravel road.
Dlamini said one of his accomplices got out of the vehicle and approached Mbhele’s window. He reached inside the car and took the keys out of the ignition.
Mbhele got out of the car and tried to take back the keys. Dlamini said that is when he got out of the car and stabbed Mbhele in the chest.
Mbhele tried to run away and managed to flee towards some railway tracks where his body was later found.
Dlamini said he and his co-accused then got back into Mbhele’s car.
The next day, they crashed the car into a telephone pole and abandoned the stolen car.
Ngcobo and Shelembe have pleaded not guilty to the charges of murder and robbery.
Their trial is proceeding.
MJC President Maulana Ihsaan Hendricks said South Africans must remember how Africa helped our freedom fighters.]]> |||
Cape Town - The Muslim Judicial Council (MJC) President Maulana Ihsaan Hendricks on Friday said South Africans must remember the hospitality Africa showed our freedom fighters.
“We cannot be so arrogant to forget what our African neighbours did for us. We cannot forget who supported our freedom fighters,” said Hendricks.
The MJC joined other South African voices speaking out against xenophobic attacks in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng.
“These xenophobic attacks are against the values entrenched in the spirit of the Constitution and should be stopped by the highest authority in this country,” said Hendricks.
He said this was a decisive moment which would determine if South Africa was still synonymous with freedom and democracy.
Hendricks said foreign nationals were easy targets for those frustrated by a lack of change in economic circumstances since 1994.
“There’s a need to change and educate our people’s mindset towards foreigners - they are here because of circumstances in their countries,” he said.
Hendricks said that he believed there was a “serious political element” driving the attacks.
“We cannot point fingers but it is clear a political element sees South Africa’s current situation as conducive to denting the country’s image”.
The MJC called on the interfaith movement and civil society to work together to tackle xenophobia.
Braam Hanekom, who was speaking in his capacity as director of Passop, a non-profit human rights organisation devoted to fighting for the rights of asylum-seekers, refugees and immigrants in South Africa, said they were hoping to join forces with the MJC in showing support for African foreign nationals.
On allegations that comments made by King Goodwill Zwelithini and President Jacob Zuma’s son Edward incited violence, Hanekom said there shouldn’t be a “fall guy”.
“There is a fixation on the supposed utterances by the king and a relative of our president. We shouldn’t put the blame on one individual,” he said.
Hendricks said he hoped those with prominent positions were responsible with their words.
Both Hendricks and Hanekom commented on the allegations that militant group Boko Haram had threatened to attack South Africa if xenophobic attacks did not stop.
“There is a clear desire to demonise Islam,” said Hanekom.
“This is something we do not take lightly. We believe this is a seriously sensitive political issue, one which the community is not yet aware of,” said Hendricks.
Attacks and the looting of foreigners’ shops started in Isipingo outside of Durban almost two weeks ago and spread to KwaMashu, Umlazi and Chatsworth. Over 70 people were arrested and faced various charges of public violence, business robberies, murder, attempted murder, assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm and malicious damage to property.
In Gauteng, shops were closed in Johannesburg on Wednesday in fear of attacks.
"I have nothing left of my business; everything is gone," Mozambican George Djedje said in Jeppestown.]]> |||
Johannesburg - “I have nothing left of my business; everything is gone,” Mozambican George Djedje told The Star on Friday morning after his panel-beating and spray-painting business was looted and burnt down on Thursday night in Jeppestown.
Car wrecks smouldered, the air was smoky and there was a heavy police presence as reporters arrived.
Djedje and his partner Aboudoul Halilou’s business was one of several foreigners’ shops destroyed here on Thursday night.
“It’s our livelihood; I don’t know what will happen now,” Djedje said. “I can’t go back there. After I sort this out, I’m going to go back to Mozambique.
“I’m not welcome here.”
Djedje, who lives in Soweto, said he did not know how he was going to pay the hundreds of thousands of rand to the owners of the seven cars he was working on.
“I don’t know what to say. I don’t know what will happen. People are cross. I also have a family to provide for – a wife and children.”
The shop was attacked at about 8pm, said a witness who asked to remain anonymous. “The men broke down the doors, windows, then rolled three cars out of the shop and burnt one outside the shop; the other two near the hostel (in Wolhuter Street).”
One customer, a Zimbabwean immigrant whose Toyota was burnt, said this was his only way of getting to and from work.
“I have two children; I don’t know how I will provide for them now. I want to go back to Zimbabwe; there is nothing here for me now.”
A Mozambican woman whose car was also burnt said she was angry with the panel beaters and the police. “I came yesterday morning to pick up my car because I was worried this would happen and they wouldn’t let me,” she said.
Residents shouted to foreigners to leave.
One man said: “If these foreigners come back, we will find them and burn them.”
Journalists met with the same threat.
The fire department arrived while the police patrolled the area, watching as people stripped the cars and broke windows.
One police officer, who asked to remain anonymous because he wasn’t authorised to speak to the media, said a lot of businesses had been affected last night.
“The looters broke windows, burnt down anything foreign- owned and were threatening people in and around the area.”
Police spokesman Lungelo Dlamini said 12 people were arrested. He assured journalists that the police were doing their best to restore order in the area.
On Thursday an Ethiopian man cried as he recalled how a mob had attacked them and looted their shop in the Makause informal settlement near Germiston.
Gudiso Landela said he was forced to clean up the mess. His younger brother, Tamrad, is in hospital after the group stabbed him.
Gudiso was also injured during the attack.
He cried as he described how about 20 locals from Makause had broken into his shop and assaulted them.
“They came into the shop and started stealing our stock,” he said.
“When my brother and I told them to leave, they took out a knife and stabbed him.”
Gudiso and Tamrad have temporary asylum-seeker permits and have been working legally in the country for the past four years