One person was killed after six vehicles were involved in a collision on the KZN North Coast, according to paramedics.]]> |||
Durban - Six vehicles were involved in a collision on the N2 near Fairbreeze on the KwaZulu-Natal north coast in the early hours of Wednesday morning.
An IPSS Medical Rescue spokesperson said that three trucks and three light motor vehicles were involved in a collision at around 1am on Wednesday morning. One person died on the scene and three others were critically injured.
One person had to be extracted using the Jaws of Life.
The cause of the accident appears to have been poor visibility due to a timber fire nearby.
The Road Traffic Inspectorate, SAPS and Mandeni Fire were also on the scene.
A Pretoria woman has told of how she was mutilated and left wheelchair-bound by the father of her children.]]> |||
Pretoria - He pulled her genitals from his pocket, held them in front of her, and told her he now had “her nice thing” with him as she watched, stunned. A few minutes later, he returned them to his pocket and went to boil water, telling her he was going to kill her.
On Tuesday Mapula Malemone, 29, who is now wheelchair-bound, told the Pretoria News of her ordeal shortly after the man who had mutilated her – the father of her children – appeared in court for attempting to murder her.
Phuti Malema, 34, has already pleaded guilty to charges of attempted murder. But in the Moretele Magistrate’s Court on Tuesday, he insisted that the knife recovered at the crime scene was not the one used by him. He claimed it had been changed by the police.
Malema, who hails from Hammanskraal, had no lawyer and was representing himself.
Despite having pleaded guilty to attempted murder relating to the attack on his former girlfriend, his focus centred on the knife found at the scene. He said it was not the one he had used to cut out his girlfriend’s private parts.
He appeared in the same court last week where he pleaded guilty to attempted murder.
Court proceedings were adjourned until August 5 when evidence of the first police officers who attended the scene will be heard. Malema remains in custody.
Speaking to the Pretoria News by phone, Malema’s then-girlfriend, Malemone, recalled how she awoke in a pool of blood on the morning of April 20 last year after Malema had mutilated her.
She said the attack happened while she was asleep. Their three children – a boy, 8, and two girls aged 6 and 4 – were asleep next to her.
“I don’t know how or why he did this to me. I just woke up to hear my children and neighbours screaming out loud. I couldn’t even speak or move,” she told the Pretoria News.
“The next thing, he came back and pulled out my vagina from his pocket and told me he now had my ‘nice thing’ with him and then he licked it.
“Thereafter, he put it back in his pocket and went on to boil water, telling me he was going to kill me,” recalled Malemone.
It is unknown what happened to her genitals subsequent to the brutal attack which caused extensive injuries which have left her in a wheelchair.
Malemone said they had not had a fight that night. Neither had Malema mentioned anything about her alleged cheating ways after he went to fetch her and their children from her mother’s house the previous night.
Malemone said: “For as long he can still walk and move on with his life unhindered, I will never ever forgive him for what he did to me.
“I am now stuck in a wheelchair because of him. And to imagine that my children now have to live with having seen their mother like this?
“My children have often asked me where I was hurt, but I cannot give them the details as they are still too young.”
Lieutenant Sarah Lesabane took the stand and testified how members of the community opened the door for her to see where the incident had taken place.
Lesabane said: “I was the first to arrive after the emergency personnel had taken the woman to hospital. I was at another crime scene in the vicinity.
“Upon arriving I saw blood and a knife on the chair and closed the door to wait for the experts to cordon off the scene and collect evidence.
“I then waited outside the house with the children.
“Family members arrived and I transported them back to their home in Lebotlhwane. We were all in shock about what had happened,” she testified.
Michael Bester's kidneys, corneas, pancreas and liver have made six people's lives exponentially better.]]> |||
Johannesburg - Michael Bester, 13, never met the six people whose lives he changed forever.
Today, his kidneys, corneas, pancreas and liver have made their lives exponentially better, with two people receiving the gift of sight and four others given a second chance at a better quality of life.
The Benoni teenager died in a horrific accident on Friday and his family donated his organs after being told that doing so could save the lives of others.
Some of the recipients are an 11-year-old boy who got his kidneys, an elderly man from Cape Town who received his pancreas and two young children who received his corneas.
Michael’s heartbroken mother, Sheila Erasmus, said although she lost her child, the fact that his death had not been in vain – as evident by the number of people who benefited from his organs – was helping her deal with the loss.
“My son was so pure-hearted, and I feel that I did a brave thing by making the decision to donate his organs. I am able to better cope with what happened knowing that his organs are living in someone’s body,” the 30-year-old mom said.
Michael was a pupil at Belvedere School, an institution for mildly and moderately mentally handicapped children in Benoni.
On Thursday, he was returning from rugby practice and cycling home as usual. It is alleged that a driver swerved to avoid crashing into Michael. But another motorist in a Toyota Fortuner wasn’t able to avoid him and struck the teenager.
Michael was rushed to hospital, where he was declared brain dead and kept alive by machines.
“The neurosurgeon told us that if it were his child, he would switch off the machines because even if they were to operate on him, chances of him living were one in a thousand, but that it was our child and he won’t tell us what to do. I couldn’t believe that my baby boy was gone. He looked like an angel, like he was asleep,” Erasmus said.
The family switched off the machines the following day.
“The doctor told my sister that Michael was a healthy child and I could donate his organs to save other lives, and I gave them permission to take everything except his heart. I did that because my child had a heart of gold and would never have hesitated helping other people. I believe that saving other people was his purpose,” she said.
Erasmus said that since her son’s death and the realisation of how many people need organs, she and her family – about 20 of them – have registered to be organ donors.
According to Samantha Nicholls, the executive director of the Organ Donor Foundation, there are about 150 000 registered donors in South Africa.
She said the number of people who registered as donors had increased over the years because of education and media exposure.
However, there were some people who weren’t open to donating organs, citing cultural and religious beliefs.
Nicholls said this was unfounded because most religions and culture supported organ donation.
At the moment, 4 300 people were on the transplant list for organs that could save their lives, and they normally wait many years before getting them. In South Africa, kidneys were in high demand, she said.
Nicholls added that even if a person was a registered donor, the family’s consent was still required before organs could be taken after the person had died.
“If you become an organ donor, it is important that you speak to your family, because consent is required. If the family refuse, the organs are not taken. The co-ordinators will not go against the family’s decision,” she pointed out.
For more information on organ donation, visit www.odf.org.za or call 0800 22 66 11.
Michael will be buried on Friday.
A yacht abandoned at Durban Harbour six years ago after its owner mysteriously disappeared is to be sold at public auction.]]> |||
Durban - A yacht abandoned in the yacht basin in Durban Harbour six years ago, after its owner mysteriously disappeared, is to be sold at public auction to recover some of the R240 000 owed in mooring fees.
Durban Marina general manager Malcolm Manion brought an application in the Durban High Court securing an order authorising the sale of the yacht Kaira, claiming its owner, Ian Ross, had not been seen since 2009.
“We have received information to the effect that he was being sought by Interpol. But we have been unable to substantiate such rumour,” he said in his affidavit that came before Judge Fikile Mokgohloa.
The yacht is an incomplete monohull steel sloop, and is likely to be sold for scrap because of its condition.
Manion said that in 2009 the yacht was moored at Wilson’s Wharf, but, because of dredging, it and others were relocated to the marina for a short time.
All eventually returned, except for Kaira.
“We requested Ross to complete the necessary documentation for hiring charges and mooring fees, but he failed and refused to do so. He did on occasion pay some hiring charges, but fell into arrears and then he simply disappeared,” he said.
A summons was issued in 2011, and the yacht was “arrested”. As of November last year, the debt stood at almost R240 000.
Manion said that every attempt had been made to trace Ross.
“We asked all his friends and fellow sailors. We put up notices at the entrance of the mooring, we have tried his cell number and his e-mail address. He has not been in contact at all.
“The only inference that can be drawn is that the yacht has been abandoned. In the circumstances we have no choice but to sell it at public auction to recover what is owed. If matters are left, the expenses will mount and the yacht will deteriorate until her value is reduced to nothing.”
The yacht had already submerged several times. Manion said that should it sink, it would pose a threat to other vessels and pollute the marine environment. It was also doubtful the vessel was insured. He said the present value was estimated to at R75 000.
According to a valuation report, rain had caused the yacht’s water line to submerge to below an opening on the side of the hull, causing sea water to flood in.
“By the time this was discovered the yacht was about 200cm under water, which caused considerable damage to the engine. The interior was never completed, and it is in an utter mess.
“The vessel only has limited open market value… a vast amount of work and a large sum of money would need to be spent repairing it and fitting it out,” the report said.
The auction will take place at the marina/yacht basin at 1pm on August 5.
From this week, the yacht will be placed on a prominent mooring at the Durban Marina for viewing. Interested buyers can contact Manion at 031 307 1017 to make arrangements.
Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu is expected to remain in hospital through the weekend.]]> |||
Johannesburg - South African Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu was admitted to hospital on Tuesday with a persistent infection just a week after being discharged following treatment for the same ailment, his foundation said.
“Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu has been re-admitted to a hospital in Cape Town... He was discharged from hospital last Tuesday, and re-admitted this afternoon after expressing renewed discomfort. His doctors considered it prudent for him to return to hospital for observation,” a statement by the Desmond and Leah Tutu Legacy Foundation said.
Tutu was first hospitalised for the infection on July 14.
The 83-year-old Nobel peace laureate also continues battling prostate cancer he has lived with for 15 years, but his foundation said the current infection was unrelated.
“(Tutu's) daughter, the Reverend Canon Mpho Tutu, said the hospitalisation was unrelated to his cancer treatment. His oncologist confirms that his PSA (prostrate-specific antigen) level is pleasingly low,” it said.
The foundation said the veteran rights campaigner would undergo bed rest while his doctors determine further treatment, and remain in the hospital at least through the weekend.
Tutu survived an illness believed to be polio as a baby, and battled tuberculosis as a teenager. He has been in and out of hospital for minor complaints since 2011.
Under apartheid, Tutu campaigned against white minority rule during the years that Nelson Mandela was imprisoned, and was awarded the 1984 Nobel Peace Prize for his work.
Officially retired, he is still outspoken on the world's injustices, and is widely viewed as South Africa's moral compass.
Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu has returned to hospital after expressing renewed discomfort, his foundation said.]]> |||
Cape Town - Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu has returned for hospital treatment, a week after he left a Cape Town hospital following an intensive antibiotics course for an infection, his foundation said on Tuesday.
The Nobel Peace Prize laureate returned to the hospital after expressing renewed discomfort, said the foundation, which is named after Tutu and his wife Leah.
The foundation quoted Tutu’s daughter, Mpho, as saying that her 83-year-old father’s hospitalisation was not related to his cancer treatment. Tutu has had prostate cancer for many years.
“His oncologist confirms that his PSA level is pleasingly low,” the foundation statement said.
“His doctors considered it prudent for him to return to hospital for observation, the statement quoted Mpho Tutu as saying.
“He’ll have a few days of bed-rest while his medical dream team brings the situation under control and determines the next course of action, if any. He will stay in hospital until the weekend, at least.”
Tutu was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1984 for campaigning against apartheid.
The death toll in the Brits bus accident has risen to three after another woman died in hospital, North West police said.]]> |||
Brits - The death toll in the Brits bus accident has risen to three after another woman died in hospital on Tuesday.
“The third person, a woman died at the Brits District Hospital due to injuries she suffered. We have her details, we are waiting her next of kin,” said Warrant Officer Mpeile Talane, the police spokesman in Brits.
Two women, aged 54 and 37, were killed and 25 other people injured when a bus overturned in Makolokwe outside Bethanie near Brits.
“The bus was travelling on a gravel road from Makolokwe to Brits via Bethanie at about 5.50am. The bus driver lost control of the bus and it capsized. Two people died at the scene and 25 were injured,” said Talane.
North West Community Safety and Transport Management MEC Gaoage Molapisi, sent condolences to families of the deceased and to those injured in a bus accident.
“We are disturbed and saddened by the sad news of this accident and we would like to wish a speedy recovery to those injured and our sincere condolences to the bereaved families,” he said.
He said two counts of capable homicide was opened against the driver.
“The driver was admitted at the Brits Medi-Clinic and the other injured people were taken to the Brits District Hospital.”
The Hartbeespoort Emergency Rescue Unit said one woman was airlifted to Milpark Hospital in Johannesburg after her hand was amputated in the accident.
“The woman was airlifted to Milpark, her hand was amputated and she suffered other serious injuries,” said spokeswoman Loanne Louw.
She said the others had injuries ranging from mild to minor.
Molapisi said that the accident happened at the time the department had held a progressive meeting with the bus service concerned and the Lethabong Community Representatives, about 40km from Bethanie, regarding the status of their buses.
“The company’s buses have been subjected to rigorous certificate of roadworthy testing and all are compliant. In that meeting, we were satisfied by their new plan to implement a bus replacement programme.”
He said the intervention would address the concerns raised by the community and the commuters of Lethabong.
Sick, homeless and abandoned by their families, the miners need to win their case, writes Botho Molosankwe.[Video]]]> |||
Johannesburg - A cough emanates from a figure covered in threadbare blankets lying on a rickety bed in a stuffy hostel room.
Once in a while the blankets shake as Xolile Jessie - the man under them - is gripped by a coughing fit.
Less than a metre away in another rickety bed lies Khoase Rantlhoisi. His face is bathed in sweat, his breath is laboured; speaking is too much effort.
The cement floor is ice-cold and the windows are tightly shut to contain what little heat there is in this claustrophobic room.
There isn’t much to eat, and the men, although sick, don’t know that they will get anything at all.
As Jessie and Rantlhoisi cough, their roommates stand around, looking at them with worry written on their faces.
“We don’t know what their problem is and are scared that we will catch whatever they have because they’re not getting any better and we live with them in the same room,” one miner said.
Jessie and Rantlhoisi are some of the miners who claim to have been unfairly dismissed by Murray & Roberts Aquarius when they embarked on a wage increase strike in 2009.
As if being dismissed wasn’t enough, they say the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) abandoned them despite their having made monthly payments to the union religiously for years.
They also allege that Murray & Roberts got the Red Ants and the police to kick them out of the company hostel.
In the process, many miners lost their passports, ID books and important documents. As a result, many of the foreigners haven’t been able to leave South Africa.
They were also not given their pension fund, they claimed.
Back home, some of their wives have left their marital homes, taking the children with them - they got tired of waiting for their husbands to return home.
Now the miners are jobless and homeless, and their families have left them.
They say their woes started in 2009 when NUM called the strike for wage increases. Then the union called it off after only two days despite the fact that it was legal, the men said.
They were dismissed, but the company reinstated some of them.
After they were evicted from the hostel, they lived on the side of the road for two days until the municipality gave them tents.
Later they moved into a private hostel, where they have been living since.
While they’re supposed to stay four to a room, the hostel is so crowded that about eight men, sometimes more, live in one room.
Hungry, jobless and without prospects because they’ve lost the documents legitimising their stay in South Africa, the men eat anything, including cats, to survive.
When The Star visited the hostel, this reporter was shown various cat skins, which bore testimony to this desperate fact.
Tsekiso Ntsohi, a 53-year-old rock driller, said they survived by getting piece jobs at farms in the area. Whatever money he gets he uses to buy food.
“If I don’t get a piece job, I hunt animals, even cats and skunks. We eat everything because we’re desperate,” he said.
Edward Sekoboto, 50, comes from Lesotho. He said that although there was a time when SA Social Security Agency (Sassa) staff arrived at the hostel to help miners with food parcels after hearing about their plight, this assistance was only for South Africans.
“They (Sassa) said foreigners would have to be helped by their own governments. South Africa used all our energy and now does not want us.
“Our matter is before the courts now and we are just waiting to know whether we have lost the case or not, so that we can get closure and get back home.
“We are old and Murray & Roberts just abandoned us like old shovels,” said Sekoboto.
The men were all employees of Murray & Roberts, which was contracted by Aquarius Platinum South Africa, but the contact between the two companies came to an end in 2012.
The Star contacted Murray & Roberts about the miners’ allegations of unfair dismissal and their claim that they were not given their pension payouts.
The company’s group communications executive, Eduard Jardim, said that when the contract with Aquarius was terminated, the latter took over the Murray & Roberts employees.
“Please contact Aquarius directly with this query,” he said.
Asked whether the miners used to contribute to a pension fund, as they claim, and why they haven’t been given their money, Jardim said: “Unless those miners are creating a new and formal case based on the speculation of unfair dismissal, not being paid a pension, etc, we are not going to be drawn into an issue that happened five years ago and was concluded in a South African court of law in our favour.”
Jardim also sent a copy of a court judgment showing the miners had gone to court over their dismissal and lost.
The miners have, however, not lost hope and are challenging the court’s decision.
According to their lawyer, Thabo Majuja, they have a strong case and a good chance of winning.
He said they lost on a technicality, as evident by the judgment, which wasn’t about the merits of the case.
“The reality is that they lost the case because they were badly represented by their previous attorney, who didn’t act in accordance with their instructions,” said Majuja, who is representing the men pro bono.
Speaking on behalf of Aquarius, Janet Whitaker said that in 2010 the court ordered Murray & Roberts to find accommodation for the miners until the dispute over whether they had been dismissed illegally had been settled.
However, Aquarius became responsible for funding the miners’ accommodation when the contract between them and Murray & Roberts ended.
“The miners were permitted to stay at the hostel until there was a ruling on their application to the CCMA/Labour Court on whether their dismissal was fair or not.
“The Labour Court ruled in December 2014 that their dismissal had been fair. Following the ruling, the owners of the hostel applied to the courts to have eviction orders issued. These were issued by the sheriff. The 60-day eviction period expired on April 30, 2015. It is regrettable that the people remaining in the hostel have been misled regarding the facts and their rights,” said Whitaker.
According to Gustav Machanisse, whose company owns the hostel, it was in fact Aquarius who applied for the eviction notice.
“Early this year Aquarius notified us that, based on a court order, the people must move out by the end of March 2015. This did not happen and they are still accommodated, and the daily rate is still being paid by Aquarius,” he said.
“There was a dispute declared by the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) to go on strike.
“A 48-hour notice was served to the company to go on strike. A compromise position was reached during negotiations within that 48-hour notice.
“We were forced to withdraw the notice while we were consulting about the new offer.
“The mass meetings were held throughout Murray & Roberts’ sites.
“Out of the 22 sites, 21 sites accepted the offer.
“The Kroondal site rejected the offer and embarked on a strike action.
“We had advised workers about the dangers of the strike by then, but they refused to heed our leadership.
“We stood by them throughout that difficult time, but they were all dismissed, over 3 000 of them.
“We negotiated with the company and some were reinstated.
“We took the company to court about the remainder of those who were not taken, and we fought the eviction through the courts, so they are still staying in the hotels.
“Some refused to be represented by NUM and changed unions. There is nothing we could do to force them to be represented by NUM.
“Those who are back to work are NUM members who accepted our representation.”
A man, accused of kidnapping and raping a boy, told a court that he only arrived in town weeks after the alleged incident took place.]]> |||
Douglas - An Ethiopian national, accused of kidnapping and raping an eight-year-old boy, told the Douglas Magistrate’s Court on Monday that he only arrived in the small Northern Cape town weeks after the alleged incident took place and only after learning that his brother was facing similar charges.
Deselie Lambore was remanded on Monday into custody until August 4, when his bail application will be heard after being accused of raping a young child at the end of May.A packed courtroom, filled with members of the community demanding that he be kept in custody, along with several foreign nationals supporting their fellow asylum seeker, were all demanding justice.
While residents insisted that no bail be granted to persons accused of violent offences, some of the foreigners in attendance were convinced that the charges against the 35-year-old were little more than a thinly veiled instance of xenophobia.
The investigating officer, Detective Warrant Officer Danny Slamat, testified how the young victim had had no trouble identifying his assailant after eventually opening a case a week after the alleged incident.
According to Slamat’s testimony, the boy went to the tuck shop in Tortelduif Street to buy chips when the accused called him to a room at the back.
“The complainant says a ‘k*elie’ pulled him into a room at back,” Slamat said.
“He was on his knees and started to scream but the accused taped his mouth closed. The accused then put him in a crawling position, pulled down his pants and put his penis into his anus. The boy couldn’t scream because his mouth was taped.
“He (the complainant) said It was very painful. When the attack was finished the accused wiped off the boy with toilet paper and threatened to kill him if he told anybody about what had happened.”
Slamat added that the boy had eventually told his grandmother of the incident on May 30 after initially hesitating to do so out of fear for his safety.
“We went to the tuck shop with colleagues from the Douglas police station and the complainant on June 2 but could not find the accused.”
Slamat said that Lambore was eventually arrested on June 22 after being positively identified by the complainant.
“The complainant pointed out the accused, who was sitting in front of the shop, without hesitation. I believe that the State has a very strong case because he managed to point out the accused without any doubt after describing him as tall with a light complexion. This description could have been anybody but he immediately identified the accused.”
However, Lambore pleaded not guilty to both charges when he testified on Monday that he was in Bothaville on May 26, when the alleged incident is said to have occurred. He added that he had only come to Douglas after his brother had called him for help after he had been arrested on similar charges.
“I came to Douglas for the first time ever on June 6 after my brother had been arrested and called me for assistance,” Lambore said.
“This kind of act is not tolerated by our culture or religion. I know nothing about this incident and I don’t know the victim.”
While Slamat maintained that Lambore was lying about his whereabouts at the time of the incident, Lambore’s defence lawyer, Ferdi van Heerden, pointed out that the accused had been asked to provide personal information, including his address, in English which was not his native tongue.
This, despite the availability of an interpreter to question him when his brother was granted bail of R10 000 last week in connection with the alleged rape and kidnapping of another minor victim under much the same circumstances.
Court adjourned late on Monday afternoon with the bail application set to continue next Tuesday. Lambore will remain in custody until this date.
The medical fraternity has mooted the establishment of a council for medical negligence claims.]]> |||
Durban - The medical fraternity, which has seen a staggering rise in negligence claims at a cost of millions of rands, has mooted the establishment of a statutory body in an attempt to cut out “frivolous litigation” and hefty court costs.
Some experts have acknowledged that medical negligence claims are becoming “an industry” for some legal practitioners.
But the recommendation, which comes after a medico-legal summit earlier this year, has been rejected by a Durban attorney, and the Law Society of South Africa said while it was not against the idea in principle, it should allow complainants to still have legal representation and not shut the door on those who still wished to go to court.
At the March summit, Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi launched a scathing attack on attorneys and some health practitioners and said litigation in the medical field had reached “crisis proportions”.
“Many of the highly litigating lawyers care less about the concept of patient safety. They are simply in hospitals because the platform from which they have been lining their pockets has now changed.”
He said the main categories for claims were obstetrics, gynaecology, neurosurgery and orthopaedics.
Wits University Professor Ames Dhai, writing in the South African journal of Bioethics and Law, suggested that a statutory body or council be set up to deal with claims.
Dhai said the idea of such a council was one of the recommendations that came out of the summit.
She said she believed that such a body would be a better way in which to determine fair compensation.
“It would also mean that the quantum claimed would be lower as the patient would not have to share the payout with the legal team.”
She said given the claims in the fields of obstetrics and others, it was not surprising that there were reports of doctors shying away from working in these disciplines.
“The reality is that practitioners will not specialise in certain disciplines resulting in skills shortages in these fields.”
While there were no statistics about the quantum of claims against government hospitals, quoting from medical insurer Medical Protection Society’s presentation at the summit, Dhai said the insurer had seen a significant rise in the quantum of claims in the private sector with the highest in 2008 being R14 million compared with R33m last year.
Durban attorney Michael Friedman, who specialises in medical negligence cases, particularly in government facilities, said: “The solution is not to set up another body to look at claims. State attorneys should concede liability swiftly in matters that have merit or fight if there is a defence.”
He said state attorneys often determined to fight “indefensible cases” which ran up huge legal costs and then accepted responsibility on the day the trial was due to start.
He also said that taking on contingency cases was the only way for poor or middle-class people to litigate.
“We can spend tens of thousands of rand on a case but then withdraw if we find that there is no negligence and causation.”
He questioned whether any action was taken by the Health Department against nurses or doctors found to be negligent.
The South African Medical Association’s vice-chairman, Mark Sonderup, said the association would support the establishment of the body if it limited the amount of “frivolous litigation”.
He said he agreed with Motsoaledi’s assertions that claims had become an “industry for some” and said the association had suggested that there should be a limit on claims and there should be more use of an ombudsman before litigation was embarked upon.
He also said there should be mandatory mediation before the matters went to court as often there was no real “case”.
Motsoaledi’s spokesman, Joe Maila, said the ministry had set up a team to look at all options including the establishment of such a council to bring down the number of claims.
“They are taking a holistic approach including looking at how the claims can be prevented.”
On the allegation that the claims were turning into a “cottage industry”, Friedman said the department needed to get “its house in order”.
“It is easy to hit out at attorneys who are helping indigent people. The question should be: Why are there so many cases?”
Meanwhile, KZN Health MEC Sibongiseni Dhlomo is expected to address the provincial legislature today on swift action the department has taken in dealing with medical negligence cases.
Dhlomo is to give an update on disciplinary cases and progress made in filling of senior posts.
Joburg’s CBD is set to be transformed with the official launch of the on-off Kopanong Gauteng Government Precinct.]]> |||
Johannesburg - The face of Joburg’s CBD is set to be transformed with the official launch of the on-off Kopanong Gauteng Government Precinct.
Kopanong initially involved 10 inner-city buildings that were to become linked government departments through a series of walkways and underground tunnels.
The project was started, but several buildings bought by the government had been standing empty, partially renovated, then left to disintegrate, creating an eyesore in the city centre, said Herbert Prins, a heritage architect.
It was first mooted in 2003, but was put on hold in 2010 partly because of objections from heritage bodies.
But the go-ahead for the project was announced this morning by Gauteng’s Infrastructure Development Department MEC Nandi Mayathula-Khoza.
“The R3 billion Kopanong precinct is an investment project aimed at bringing about economic development and the aesthetic facelift of the Joburg CBD,” said Khoza.
According to a report on the relaunch, it will entail the rehabilitation, development and management of 21 buildings.
Prins says the objectives of the project are:
- To improve service delivery through efficient interrelations.
- To identify a vehicle of changing ownership in the CBD.
- To eliminate work disruptions by security of tenure.
- To boost urban office design and regenerate the CBD.
At the end of last month, the Gauteng Department of Finance issued a tender for the appointment of a project officer at a cost of R10.7 million.
Those tender documents note that four buildings in the precinct are listed heritage sites: the New Library Hotel, The South African Reserve Bank, Clegg House and Montrose House; and six buildings are older than 60 years: the New Library Hotel, the Absa Building, Old Reserve Bank Building, the SA Permanent Bank Building, the South African Reserve Bank and Clegg House.
The report states that heritage permits will have to be obtained before starting with the development of the affected properties.
“Heritage permits were controversially issued in 2005 for the demolition of some of the buildings in the precinct, causing an uproar from the heritage community.
“In this context, the tender document states that existing permits would need to be scrutinised to determine their continued validity,” said Prins.
The document states that issues of heritage have been identified “as critical perspectives for memorialisation in the precinct of its history on the one hand, and its vision as a stepping stone to a new history”.
Some alterations were carried out after 2005, which, among others, resulted in the destruction of important panels by artist Eduardo Villa and the alteration of the Rand Water Building “to the point where the architectural significance of the structure has been ruined”, according to Prins. Buildings such as Clegg House subsequently became targets of the “pink paint” project in which several artists were allowed to pour pink paint over the buildings in protest that they were not being used.
The new precinct will include a street underpass, skywalks joining buildings and underground parking around a focal point like a square.
A KZN family is coming to terms with the death of their son who died in a fire in his room at the RK Khan Hospital.]]> |||
Durban - An Inanda family were on Tuesday coming to terms with the death of their son who died in a fire in his room in the RK Khan Hospital in Chatsworth at the weekend.
Bhekinkosi Ngcobo, the father of 20-year-old first-year nursing student Sicelo, said on Tuesday that the family was in shock.
“To be a nurse was his dream. It was a profession he had always admired,” he said.
Sicelo, he said, had excelled in mathematics and physical science at Mqhawe High School where he completed his matric in 2012.
“He was intelligent, a hard worker and very outspoken. He was also good with children in the area, often helping them with their school work,” he said
He said the family had “high hopes” that he would return to take care of his family home.
“The doctor told me that people who sustained burns on between 75 and 95% of their bodies, never come back. Sicelo had sustained burns to 95% of his body,” he said.
His son by that time, he said, was not responding to treatment and his kidneys failed.
Health Department spokesperson Desmond Motha, said the student’s room caught fire at about 8am.
“An enrolled nursing assistant first noticed the smell of smoke and investigated.
“After checking several rooms, he arrived at the nursing student’s room and found that the door was hot and locked.
“He called for help. Another staff member arrived and broke down the door.
“At this point, the nursing student was on the floor and the room was on fire,” he said.
The student was in his first year at the college.
The hospital said on its website that accommodation was available at the residence for nurses in training.
Motha said while attempts were made to extinguish the fire, the nursing student was rushed to the resuscitation room.
He was unconscious and died in ICU at 4.45pm.
His family was informed in a meeting with the hospital’s management.
Provincial Health MEC, Dr Sibongiseni Dhlomo, said: “To lose a child under these circumstances is sad and shocking. The incident is still being investigated by police and the area has been cordoned off.
“We send our heartfelt condolences to the family,” Dlomo said.
Dhlomo, other high-ranking officials and representatives from the hospital, paid their respects to the family at their home in Umzinyathi in Inanda this morning.
Provincial police spokesman, Major Thulani Zwane, said the Chatsworth police had opened an inquest docket.
“The cause of the fire is unknown,” he said.
Many homeless people have set up homes in cemeteries around Cape Town. [Video]]]> |||
Cape Town - She warms water over a makeshift fire. This will be her shower water, as she makes her way behind a towering tombstone - for privacy - and gets ready to wash.
This is part of the daily routine for one of the homeless people who have set up home in a Jewish cemetery near Groote Schuur Hospital.
The young woman, who asked not to be named, is one of 20 in this cemetery who, like many other homeless people, have set up home in cemeteries around the city.
There are tents and makeshift shelters in the cemetery, near Groote Schuur Hospital.
“There is no bathroom here. No toilets. If you want to wash, you must go behind a tree, put a bucket up and wash yourself,” she said.
She and her partner had to “hustle” for food. Originally from Maitland, she said she has lived on and off at the cemetery for two years after her boyfriend was sent to Pollsmoor, and she could not afford to live on her own.
“My plan is to get out of here and go home. I don’t want to live like this, this is no life. I want a warm home and to be able to make my family a warm meal at night,” she said.
Although she felt safe at the cemetery, law-enforcement would often destroy their belongings in an attempt to get rid of the illegal dwellers.
Belinda Walker, Mayco member for Community Services, said: “Due to the public nature of parks and open spaces, these areas are inevitably affected by vagrancy, vandalism and illegal dumping.
“The enhancement of green spaces and the increased usage of them by the community for recreational purposes has proven to be the best means of deterring anti-social behaviour.”
Suzette Little, Mayco member for Social Development and Early Childhood Development, said the department had interventions for the homeless, including compiling a database of street people, referring the needy to shelters and assessment centres and even creating job opportunities via the Expanded Public Works Programme.
The family of a South African man detained in an Egyptian prison is fighting for his release amid concerns about his health.]]> |||
A medical report of a South African man detained in an Egyptian prison for the past eight months has suggested he is in desperate need of surgery, with his family continuing their fight to have him released.
Sheikh Abdel Bassiouni was detained in early December after flying into Egypt for his daughter’s engagement celebrations.
He and his son Bilaal were interrogated for hours about an alleged connection to the banned Islamic organisation, the Muslim Brotherhood, despite the family claiming there was no such link.
Even though Bilaal was released the next day, his father remains in prison, with limited - and occasionally totally restricted - access to legal representation, medical treatment or his relatives.
Eight months later, he has yet to be charged with any crime.
And while the family and their lawyers have tried to get the Department of International Relations and Co-operation to push for Bassiouni’s release, they claim not enough has been done to help them.
On Monday, Bilaal sent the medical report to The Star, saying it had emerged that his father, while in prison, had finally had X-rays taken of his back.
The X-rays were handed to one of Bassiouni’s relatives, who took them to a specialist in Cairo.
According to the specialist’s report, the 62-year-old is suffering from spondylolisthesis, a displacement in three of his spinal vertebrae. “He needs urgent surgery,” the report reads.
But the family have been unable to confirm with the Egyptian authorities whether Bassiouni would receive the operation, nor have they been forthcoming with information on his release or if any charges were to be laid against him.
For the family, the recent passing of Eid ul-Fitr was another reminder of the patriarch’s long absence. “As a family, we are shattered,” Bilaal said.
The Department of International Relations was approached on Monday for comment on negotiations with the Egyptian government, but there was no response.
The “interests of justice” saved the day for nine men who were to be sentenced for throwing human waste at the Cape Town International Airport.]]> |||
Cape Town - The “interests of justice” saved the day on Tuesday for nine men who were to be sentenced for throwing buckets of watery human waste over the floor of the departure hall at the Cape Town International Airport in 2013.
Sentencing proceedings should have commenced on Tuesday in the Bellville Regional Court, but financial woes on the part of the accused caused magistrate Nonkosi Saba to postpone the case to August 18 instead.
The men are to be sentenced for violating the Civil Aviation Act.
As the proceedings started, the defence team, advocate Pearl Mathibela and attorney Ntuthuko Msomi, told the court that they had agreed with prosecutor Natasha Moshodi to the postponement.
Mathibela said the case had previously been postponed to Tuesday, to enable the nine accused men to raise additional funding that was needed.
The men had been unable to do so, she said.
This would normally have caused the withdrawal of the defence team – and a protracted delay in the proceedings, as the men would likely have sought free legal aid representation.
The duly appointed legal aid lawyer would then also have needed time for preparation.
Mathibela said the delay would not have been in the interests of justice, and she and Msomi had accordingly decided to finalise the matter.
Had they received the additional funding, they would have prepared, and been ready on Tuesday, to present testimony and final argument in mitigation of sentence.
However, having only taken the decision on Tuesday, to finalise the case anyway, they nevertheless needed time to prepare, she added.
The men are out on R2 000 bail each.
According to the charge sheet the accused were all residents of informal housing settlements which fell within the jurisdiction of the City of Cape Town.
The housing settlements were provided with portable toilets, but a dispute had arisen between the nine accused and other residents over the City’s perceived neglect of sanitation.
The perceived neglect included the infrequent and irregular removal of human waste, in accordance with procedures agreed to between the City and the service provider, the charge sheet said.
The incident at the airport happened on June 25, 2013, around midday.
According to the charge sheet, the men were in possession of receptacles containing human waste, which they emptied at the entrance to, and inside, the departure hall.
A former attorney and his secretary accused of defrauding unsuspecting clients in a property scam appeared in the Durban High Court.]]> |||
More than five years after dozens of unsuspecting clients were allegedly duped out of thousands of rands in a property scam, a former attorney and his secretary faced up to the charges in the Durban High Court on Monday.
Binesh Bene Singh and Urika Lucken pleaded not guilty to charges of fraud and racketeering before Acting Judge Rod Callum.
The charges relate to incidents that took place between October 2006 and August 2008.
The indictment alleges that Singh was the manager of an illegal enterprise operated from his law firm, in which he, Lucken and another woman, Raisa Alli, conspired to defraud people by claiming they could facilitate buying homes for them.
About 40 people gave Alli money, amounting to about R3 million, for deposits or as the purchase prices for homes.
But the homes were never for sale and none of the buyers recovered their money.
Alli pleaded guilty to her role in the enterprise in 2009 and was jailed for six years.
In her plea, she claimed that she had agreed to find potential buyers for repossessed homes that were to be auctioned.
When she realised that she had become part of a fraudulent scheme, she began to act in “cahoots” with Singh and Lucken.
On Monday Singh’s attorney, Siven Samuel, applied for the matter to be adjourned pending a decision of the national director of public prosecutions regarding representations that had been made.
State advocate Yuri Gangai said the adjournment was another attempt to delay the trial.
Judge Callum refused the adjournment and the trial started with the evidence of Shunmugam Pillay.
Pillay said he had been referred to Ali by a friend as he had wanted to buy property.
He believed that Ali was an estate agent and she had told him about a Chatsworth property he could buy for R250 000.
Pillay said Ali told him he could only see the outside of the property because it was being repossessed and that he had to pay her a 10% deposit.
Pillay borrowed R20 000 from a relative, who wrote a cheque to Ali, and paid the other R5 000 in cash, but the deal never materialised.
Questioned by Judge Callum about how he could buy a property he had not seen, Pillay said he thought it was a “good buy”.
Pillay said he had on one occasion been introduced to “Ureka” from the attorney’s office, but yesterday he could not confirm that the person was Lucken.
Under cross-examination, Pillay said he did not know what happened to the money he had paid to Ali and that he had only dealt with her.
The trial is continuing. Singh and Lucken are out on bail.
Pupils who are fortunate enough to have technology introduced into their schools say it has made a big difference to their marks.]]> |||
While impoverished KwaZulu-Natal schools are still quite a way away from paperless classrooms, those local pupils who are fortunate enough to have modern technology introduced into their schools say it has made a big difference to their marks.
Okumhlope High in Umlazi is one of 600 schools in KZN where a touch screen smart board has replaced the blackboard in one of the Grade 10 classrooms.
The pupils are able to see and hear their science lessons come to life. While they still use textbooks rather than tablets in the classroom, they say technology has improved their learning.
“Seeing is believing,” quipped Qiniso Dlamini, 15.
Classmate Luyandah Msani, 16, said she used to struggle to visualise certain concepts. Her science marks had improved because the content was now easier to understand.
The speakers connected to the smart board also helped them learn the correct scientific terms in English, the pupils said.
In the school’s computer room, pupils of all grades use their individual profiles to access curriculum content for different subjects, and to complete quizzes.
KZN Education Department head Nkosinathi Sishi wants pupils in grades 10 to 12 to be exposed to information and communication technology in their classrooms, but has only R90 million to do so.
Of the 1 500 schools in KZN equipped with resources such as laptops and tablets, every pupil in an entire grade did not have access to these devices. Owing to budget constraints, the department’s strategy was for a cluster of schools to share these resources.
Thirteen schools in the Pinetown and Umlazi districts were taking part in a pilot scheme in which tablets and e-books were used to teach maths and natural science in grades 8 and 9.
In 2013, pupils at Northwood School in Durban North became among the first in the country to have digital textbooks.
The boys were able to complete their maths assignments on e-books downloaded on tablets, by logging on to the school’s wi-fi.
Research on using information and communication technology in classrooms, such as that by Wits academics Nokulunga Ndlovu and Donovan Lawrence, argues that the key to effectively using technology depends “hugely” on the teacher’s capacity to teach effectively, with or without it.
A 19-year-old man accused of raping his cousin has appeared in a Tlhabane court, North West police said.]]> |||
Rustenburg - A 19-year-old man, accused of raping his cousin, appeared in the Bafokeng Magistrate’s Court in Tlhabane, North West police said on Tuesday.
Police spokesperson Major Pelonomi Makau said the man appeared in court on Monday for allegedly raping his 34-year-old cousin on Sunday. His case was postponed to August 3 for bail application.
“According to the information, the suspect and the victim are reported to be cousins who are staying in the same yard in Phokeng. They were allegedly walking from a tavern in the early hours of Sunday, when the suspect suddenly grabbed the victim and dragged her to the nearest river bank and raped her,” said Makau.
She said the woman managed to report the matter to the police who took her to the hospital where rape was confirmed.
“The victim also had bruises on her face and feet following the incident. The suspect was traced and arrested on the same day [Sunday] at his home.”
Littering on the streets and beaches of KZN is taking its toll on tourism, house prices and the environment.]]> |||
Durban - Littering on the streets and beaches of KwaZulu-Natal, fuelled by burgeoning consumerism and laziness, is taking its toll on tourism, house prices and the environment.
Mabuyi Gumede, an expert in coastal resort development from the University of KwaZulu-Natal, said littering had become a habit with people not taking responsibility for public space.
“The more they litter, the more it becomes a habit. Once litter starts to pile up, people feel less responsible for adding to the litter.
“Sometimes the garbage bin is just across the road but people are too lazy to cross the street.”
Gumede said research showed the most frequent culprits were under 19, but that: “The 21 to 35 age group is three times more likely to litter than the 50 and up crowd.
“Research also shows that men litter more than women.”
UKZN sociologist, Malcolm Draper, said the decision to use inorganic materials, such as single-use plastic bottles, packets and wrappers, stemmed from a need to show off consumption. “It’s a sign of modernity, a signifier of wealth,” he said.
Draper said this was perpetuated by advertising where cans, bottles and items with unnecessary packaging were shown as desirable.
He said when his car was dusty, students often scribbled “Please wash me” on its body.
“But that is healthy dirt. It is soil, where our food grows. It’s completely organic.
But, on campus, when a student litters and is asked to pick it up, some respond ‘Why should I? I’m a Marxist’. Others say they are creating jobs, or that it is the institution’s job to pick up litter,” he said.
Natalie Gorven, of KZN Beach Cleanup, said people were unaware of the consequences of littering and how it directly affected them.
“Littering can influence the quality of drinking water and leave harmful substances in seafood.”
She said there was little reward for the recycling of plastics.
But the environment would not be the only sector affected.
Owner of estate agency Seeff Berea, Roger Hoaten, said a property’s marketability was tied to its surroundings in many ways.
“For example, in lower Glenwood we recently had a problem pushing a unit because of the degradation of an area. We had sold one unit (in the complex) four months before, but the area had changed since then,” he said.
He said the problem was “significant” but, in areas such as Musgrave and Stephen Dlamini (Essenwood) Road where the agency operated, the issue seemed “under control”.
Durban Coastal area principal for Pam Golding Properties, Carol Reynolds, said the environment definitely had an impact on property prices and if littering became a problem, it would be detrimental on house prices and rentals.
“Buyers gravitate towards well-kept neighbourhoods, and if there is an ongoing issue with litter, this will create a perception that the area isn’t ideal, which will in turn reduce house prices in the area.”
She said a one-off occurrence would not have any real impact, but ongoing unsightliness would start to have a negative impact over time.
Federated Hospitality Association of South Africa (Fedhasa) operations manager, Charles Preece, said the state of the city was “very disappointing”.
“Why would people from other areas in KZN or Gauteng or even Europe want to come to sit in a rubbish dump? This will definitely influence whether tourists come here.”
Preece said it was easy to blame the municipality, but residents needed to take responsibility.
City spokeswoman, Tozi Mthethwa, said eThekwini had been inspired by Singapore’s policies on littering and had pledged to crack down on litter bugs by imposing fines and prison sentences.
“Law enforcement officers are enforcing seashore regulations and city bylaws and transgressors are dealt with accordingly. There are joint operations to maintain law and order at our city beaches.”
She said eThekwini’s Parks, Leisure and Cemeteries Unit undertook daily clean-ups along the beachfront and Blue Lagoon.
These problems were not isolated to South Africa.
A recent report published in National Geographic said people dumped 8 million tons of plastic into the oceans every year.
Nigerian social scientist, Oluyinka Ojedokun, said in research published last year that social and cultural norms played a role in littering in Nigeria.
“In some traditional settings, daily cleaning is believed to be an uncontested duty of the women. This kind of cultural influence inhibits littering-prevention actions.”
Director of the Argentina-based Urban Environmental Consultancy, Carlos Eduardo Micilio, drew an analogy between other misdemeanours and littering, in a post on monitoring group Waste Management World.
“If people commit ‘petty offences’ (such as illegal parking) and fail to be penalised, more serious offences and crimes will appear on the scene. An open-air dump is a true reflection of what I am talking about. It starts with a few bags of waste, then if they all do it, why not me?”
Littering is a universal problem. Other cities in South Africa shared their approaches to tackling the problem.
City manager, Mxolisi Nkosi, said the problem was “serious and distressing”.
“I can’t even begin to describe how sad it is to see the river being used as a place to dispose of dirty nappies,” he said.
“Our challenges are not in terms of capacity, but in changing attitudes, which is something we are trying to do through education programmes.”
He said the city was cleaned at night and remained clean until about 9am when commuters arrived.
Ernest Sonnenberg, mayoral committee member for the utility services department, said it ran extra clean-up services during summer.
He said the city began cleaning after an event as soon as it ended.
The city delivered a seven-day a week plus night shift service of litter picking and street sweeping in all main business areas in Cape Town.
He said there was no problem of littering in the city centre, but some people practised illegal dumping.
Sonnenberg credited the city’s intensive educational programmes.
“People tend to think dropping one small piece of litter will not make a difference, but every single dropped item plays a part in contributing to a much bigger problem. The power to change this lies in the hands of residents.”
Amanda Nair, managing director of Pikitup, the City of Johannesburg’s waste management entity, wrote in an opinion piece for Daily News’s sister paper The Star last year that fining transgressors could be a solution.
The other was to encourage the formation of neighbourhood cleaning organisations to involve residents in the clean-up process.
A 33-year-old man was sentenced to two life sentences for rape in the Sibasa Regional Court, Limpopo police has said.]]> |||
Johannesburg - A 33-year-old man was sentenced to two life sentences for rape in the Sibasa Regional Court, Limpopo police said on Tuesday.
Police spokeswoman Colonel Ronel Otto said Namadzavho Khothiwa was sentenced on Monday on rape and robbery charges which happened during 2012 and 2013.
In the first incident in August 2012 Khothiwa had confronted a 10-year-old girl at Ha Makhuvha village where she was playing in the street with a friend.
Khothiwa lured her to the river and raped her, said Otto.
Then in December 2013, Khothiwa had confronted a 59-year-old woman in Tshilungwi forest as she was collecting firewood and forced her deep into the forest at knife point.
Khothiwa kept the woman hostage and raped her. She escaped the next day while he was asleep.
Otto said Khothiwa had stolen her jersey.