Monday, September 1, 2014

Nyanga plunged into anarchy

Cape Town - Nyanga bordered on anarchy on Monday morning as seven buses were set alight by suspected rogue taxi drivers.

This came as a large-scale, violent service delivery protest gripped the area, stranding commuters as the township was effectively shut down.

Eleven bus drivers were injured when angry crowds ripped them from their vehicles and beat them up in the streets.

Metro police came under live gunfire on Monday while protecting bus passengers who came under attack.

A taxi driver was shot dead, police said.

The 39-year-old man from Zwelitsha was apparently shot while on his way to work, said Captain Frederick van Wyk.

Witnesses heard gun shots at around 6.15am.

Van Wyk said the man was apparently robbed of his firearm. The motive for the shooting was unknown. No arrests had been made.

Golden Arrow spokeswoman Bronwen Dyke said seven buses were torched during on Monday morning’s riots and four damaged.

At about 4am, bus drivers called the operating centre saying they were worried because there were no taxis running in the area, “which is really unusual”.

Two hours later, drivers arrived at the Nyanga bus terminus to find a crowd of angry taxi drivers waiting for them.

“Things started to get a bit heavy - there were police present but we’ve been told they just watched as the crowd targeted two buses,” Dyke said.

They pulled the drivers out of the buses, beating them up before petrol-bombing the vehicles.

“The violence then started to spread.”

Buses were burnt and stoned as rioters moved through the area, bringing traffic to a standstill.

Attacks were reported on Eisleben and Govan Mbeki roads, where four buses were set alight.

Police were urgently trying to hunt down a Toyota HiAce, allegedly carrying a band of arsonists responsible for the attacks.

Motorists on the N2 told the Cape Argus that a small group of law enforcement officers were overwhelmingly outnumbered by stone-throwers, but the officers somehow managed to prevent motorists from coming under heavier attack.

Delivery vans with smashed windscreens were seen near Govan Mbeki, and police in the area tried to seal off roads before more vehicles were hit.

The live rounds were fired at metro police officers and they fired rubber bullets in defence.

Dyke said all 11 drivers were assaulted on Monday morning but most sustained minor injuries.

“None of our passengers at this stage were injured.”

The bus operator has stopped running services in the area, instead creating makeshift terminuses on the N7 and at the Manenberg police station to try to serve stranded commuters.

While Dyke could not confirm that taxi drivers were behind the riots, she said: “All the information we have at the moment points to this being the case.”

The bus operator was set to meet with authorities to discuss safety concerns.

As it stands, services in the area would not resume until Golden Arrow got assurance from police and law enforcement that staff and passengers would be protected from further riots.

City safety and security director Richard Bosman said the situation was under control by 10am but Nyanga was still a no-go area.

Police reported that there was also stone-throwing at the taxi rank in Khayelitsha’s Site C.

“Commuters and road users are asked to refrain from these areas and make use of alternative roads and transportation.”

The provincial Transport Department has condemned the attacks carried out on Golden Arrow buses.

MEC Donald Grant said: “The perpetrators of these very serious crimes must be made to face the full might of the law.

“We will support all efforts to ensure that this happens and that these criminals are brought to book for their crimes.

“Their acts have not only interrupted the provision of reliable public transport to the hundreds of thousands that use buses daily in and around the city, but have also threatened the safety of commuters.”

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Zuma on the ropes

President Jacob Zuma is up against it in his fight to deflect two corruption scandals.

The second-highest court in the country, the Supreme Court of Appeal, and the public protector indicated yesterday that Zuma would be held to account.

Signalling her intention not to back down in her quest to hold the president and other government officials accountable for the spending of public funds on Zuma's private home, Public Protector Thuli Madonsela said: "Maladministration and corruption are the real enemies, not me."

Madonsela has recommended that Zuma repay some of the R246-million spent and accused him of subverting the law after he appointed the police minister to probe whether he has any liability for the spending at Nkandla.

Following a barrage of attacks in the past week, Madonsela announced yesterday that she would seek a meeting with Zuma to "enable the way forward".

Adding to Zuma's woes, the Supreme Court of Appeal yesterday dismissed his application to stop the release of tapes - made by intelligence agencies of prosecution officials' conversations - that informed the decision to drop a corruption case against him five years ago.

The National Prosecuting Authority now has a week to hand over the tapes and records relating to them.

In a judgment scathing of Zuma's conduct and of the prosecuting authority's "supine" behaviour, the court ordered that an electronic version of the "spy tapes" and their transcripts be given to the court registrar, where the DA will be able to access them. An independent adjudicator, retired judge Noel Hurt, must decide which documents can be released to the DA and what must remain classified to protect Zuma's confidentiality.

The documents form the record of the decision by then NPA boss Mokotedi Mpshe to drop more than 700 corruption charges against Zuma in 2009. He became president just weeks after the charges, relating to the multibillion-rand arms deal, were dropped.

Yesterday's appellate court ruling could pave the way for the DA to challenge the rationality of Mpshe's judgment, which, if successful, might lead to the reinstitution of charges against the president.

While the noose appears to be tightening, Zuma is not even in the country. He left on an official visit to Russia shortly after the Economic Freedom Fighters heckled him in parliament with chants of "Pay back the money" a week ago.

"One is tempted to say that surely we must be reaching some kind of breaking point," Nic Borain, a political analyst, said.

"Finally we get closer to the long-promised day in court for reviewing the decision not to charge Jacob Zuma for corruption," he said.

Gary van Staden, a political analyst at NKC Independent Economists, said: "The ANC has lost direction and become a structure for protecting vested interests rather than democracy, and that's the real concern that people are facing.

"Nkandla is the latest of a series of events and scandals where the president is accused of corruption and that is being pushed aside."

Though Zuma's failure to adequately address the Nkandla scandal has cast doubt on whether he will complete his second term, which ends in 2019, the president might choose to delay the investigation for as long as possible, Borain said.

"It might be that we are heading for some kind of final showdown, but it can take many, many more years," he said. "There has been such an endless process of postponement of justice." And Zuma still enjoys support within the ANC, with senior party officials having come to his defence and attacking the public protector.

But former deputy president Kgalema Motlanthe says the public protector should be respected at all times. Answering an SABC question about the war of words between the ANC and Madonsela, Motlanthe said the office of the public protector, as a chapter nine institution, supports democracy.

Presidential spokesman Mac Maharaj said last night if Madonsela "wrote to the president [about the proposed meeting] we would respond to her with the respect due to her office, but do not expect us to respond to a request made through the media".

AfriForum has submitted criminal charges - in terms of the Public Protector Act - against ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe and his deputy, Jessie Duarte, for their alleged insulting of Madonsela.

If found guilty they can be punished with a fine of R40000 or a prison sentence of up to 12 months, or both.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Nkandla committee stumbles on mandate

The first sitting of the new parliamentary committee on Nkandla hit a deadlock between the ANC and opposition on Friday, as the latter refused to elect a chairperson until the mandate is reworked to expressly include the public protector’s findings.

Democratic Alliance MP James Selfe said the opposition agreed beforehand to argue that “at the heart of it is the public protector’s report and we need to be absolutely certain that all relevant documentation will be consulted”.

Economic Freedom Fighters leader Julius Malema made plain opposition parties feared the ANC could not be trusted to uphold Public Protector Thuli Madonsela’s findings against President Jacob Zuma.

Instead, he said after the meeting, the African National Congress would want Zuma’s bitterly contested submission to Parliament on Nkandla – in which he declined to comment on her report — to be accepted as the last word on the controversy that had haunted him for years.

“I know exactly what the ANC is going to do. They are going to come here and accept the president’s report as an accurate reflection of what happened and say the matter is closed.”

The ANC reluctantly conceded that the first meeting of the committee be adjourned, but afterwards disagreed with the opposition as to what would happen next.

According to DA parliamentary leader Mmusi Maimane, it was understood that the terms of reference of the committee would be referred back to the National Assembly to be elaborated.

But Cedric Frolick, the ANC’s nominee for chairman, said there was no need to do this.

“It simply requires further discussion but the secretary will be called and the Speaker will be called in to discuss it. I have stated the view of the ANC, as far as the proposal is concerned there is definitely a trust deficit and that can be dealt with without taking it back to the National Assembly.

“I think it is unlikely that the ANC will go back and review the resolution that is there. I think it just requires further political interaction between the chief whips of the different parties so they can move from a common understanding.”

The office of ANC Chief Whip Stone Sizani subsequently issued a statement accusing the opposition of frustrating the work of the committee.

“The office of the ANC Chief Whip is disappointed by the needless filibustering tactics today [Friday] by the opposition parties in the ad hoc committee.

“Due to this stonewalling by the very same parties who ostensibly support accountability, the committee has lost a day’s work it may never recover.”
The mandate of the committee was debated heatedly in the National Assembly this month when the DA argued unsuccessfully that it was too vague and had to be redrafted to include dealing with the findings of all investigations on Nkandla.
A motion to this effect was voted down by the ANC, with Sizani saying at the time the opposition should accept assurances that the committee would consider all relevant documents.

With Madonsela’s 450-page report, in which she calls on Zuma to repay some of the R246 million cost of the upgrades to his private Nkandla homestead in KwaZulu-Natal, now the subject of a public row between her and the ruling party, the committee is expected to see more wrangling between the ANC and the opposition.

Malema told reporters he would, like the DA, argue that the committee call not only Madonsela, but also Zuma. Maimane said he saw the task of Parliament as ensuring that the remedial action recommended by Madonsela was implemented.
“The job of the committee is to uphold the remedial steps that the public protector put forward… the question of the committee must simply be ‘why has the president not complied?’,” said Maimane.

In his 20-page submission to Parliament earlier this month, Zuma deferred a decision on whether he should reimburse any of the public spending on Nkandla to Police Minister Nathi Nhleko.

Madonsela, in her subsequent letter to the president, pointed out that her decisions could only be overruled by a court.

- Sapa

‘The worst flooding in 10 years’

Cape Town - A week of rain has ended, with the last of three storm fronts that swept across the Western Cape clearing up.

But in the aftermath of torrential rains and flooding, 5 000 people are still looking for relief after their homes were damaged by rising storm water in the townships.

The city’s director for Safety and Security, Richard Bosman, said around 1 500 dwellings were flooded early on Thursday after overnight rain.

Khayelitsha was worst hit. The township is built on the Kuils River flood plains which meant that low-lying areas were quickly submerged on Thursday morning.

In the township’s Site B, the RR section saw many homes waterlogged, the people inside stepping over large puddles pointing out furniture and appliances that had been damaged.

In Lavender Hill, residents of Overcome Heights called for mayor Patricia de Lille to visit their wet homes.

Cathy Lewis, 36, waded barefoot through ankle deep water inside her house.

“The water is so cold that my children have to sleep at my sister’s place.”

Plastic crockery floats underneath the sink and her bed is propped up on bricks and crates.

“It is painful. No one should live like this. I sleep under five blankets at night and in the morning have to walk through icy cold water.”

She said she was heartbroken, and had nowhere else to stay.

“You don’t feel like coming home to this. I can’t wash or cook here and all my clothes are wet.”

Francisco January, 46, has lived in the area for nine years. He sat on his bed above the water that covered the floor of his three-room home.

Music blared from a small radio; one light lit the dark room and crates served as a bridge to cross over the water.

January said he had been scooping water out of his home since 3am on Wednesday, but heavy rains on Thursday brought more flooding.

“It’s so cold that you feel you could freeze to death. This morning I got shocked from one of the electricity plugs.”

Karen Mentoor, a member of the Overcome Heights residents association, said people were living like animals.

“Not even dogs want to sleep this way. This is the worse flooding in the 10 years I’ve lived here. Fridges are wet, children can’t go to school because they are sick and their clothes are wet and we can get electric shocks and die.”

Residents have had enough.

“We need the mayor to come and look at how the people of Overcome Heights have to live.”

Other affected areas included Driftsands, Sir Lowry’s Pass, Mitchells Plain and the Strand.

While residents feared the storm would continue, Bosman said by on Thursday afternoon everything was clearing up. He was optimistic that the worst was over and a sunny weekend lay ahead.

Relief efforts have already begun. In Lavender Hill 400 blankets were handed out to displaced residents. The city has also provided residents in other areas with food, baby packs and flood kits.

Nkandla ad hoc committee starts work

The ad hoc committee that will deliberate on President Jacob Zuma’s response to investigations into public spending at his Nkandla home will meet on Friday.

In April, Zuma declined to respond in full to Madonsela’s report within the requisite fortnight.

Madonsela found he had violated the Executive Ethics Code by failing to act in a manner that protected state resources, and that this was inconsistent with his position.

In her report released in March and titled “Secure in Comfort”, Madonsela held that Zuma had unduly benefited from improvements worth R246 million at Nkandla.

She ordered that he repay the state for the work that did not relate to security. At the time, she also gave the president two weeks to respond.

Zuma delayed his response to August 14, and in it made clear that he was not commenting on Madonsela’s report or accepting its findings.

Instead, he referred the decision on repayment to Police Minister Nathi Nhleko.

- Sapa

Lwandle: Police ‘rejected’ bishop’s mediation

Cape Town - A Bishop of the Methodist Church who was present during the second day of the Lwandle evictions offered to help the police defuse the tension, but was “fobbed off”, the ministerial inquiry has heard.

Police were preparing to disperse crowds gathered near the structures that were to be demolished on June 3 when Bishop Michel Hansrod of the Methodist Church of Southern Africa intervened. He offered to help the police calm residents “resistant” to the evictions.

Provincial Public Order Police commander Jimmy Lucas and Captain Daniel Potgieter were quizzed by inquiry members yesterday on whether the police had done enough to avert violence or a stand-off between them and residents. Committee members told the pair that their first priority, according to police national instructions, should have been to prevent a violent stand-off by engaging with residents.

Video footage of a conversation between Hansrod and Andre de Graaf, who was the operational commander in Lucas’s absence on June 3, was shown at the inquiry.

In it, Hansrod asks De Graaf what he and another clergyman from the Methodist Church can do to assist in defusing the tension.

De Graaf answers that the police have been sent there to protect the sheriff of the court and the construction unit hired by Sanral.

“We appreciate that what we are asking is how do we help you mediate so that this is done as humanely as possible,” Hansrod is heard saying.

De Graaf does not provide a response.

Hansrod asks how the evictions can be carried out without violence, considering the resistance from residents. De Graaf replies: “We would have to act.”

Asked what this action would entail, De Graaf refers Hansrod to SAPS media officer André Traut, saying he cannot divulge details of the police’s operational plan.

De Graaf is on leave and could not be questioned at the inquiry yesterday about his role. Inquiry member Mampe Ramotsamai, a former ANC MP, asked Lucas and Potgieter why Hansrod had been referred to Traut instead of officers dealing with the situation on the ground.

“They were… asking you to give them a chance to talk to the people so that we prevent… further violence,” Ramotsamai said.

Inquiry chairman Denzil Potgieter said De Graaf was “fobbing off” Hansrod by referring him to the police media officer.

Nomhle Dambuza said it was strange that the officers did not have a designated negotiator on the scene to defuse the tensions between the police and community.

Potgieter denied that Hansrod had not been given an opportunity to address the residents. The construction team had not arrived at that point and the bishop had enough time to address residents.

“I think he went to speak to the people. If you look at the video you can see he is standing next to the crowd,” Potgieter said.

On June 3, there were clashes between residents and the police. Several shacks were taken down, while others were set alight by their owners.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Misery for thousands in Cape Town

Cape Town - Hundreds of shacks were flooded and thousands of people displaced in townships as a storm hit Cape Town on Wednesday night and on Thursday morning.

With three cold fronts sweeping through the province, the city has been at the centre of the storm.

City Safety and Security director Richard Bosman said about 1 500 shacks had been flooded. The worst-hit area was Khayelitsha, where over 2 000 people were affected by the storm.

When a Cape Argus team visited the RR Section of the township’s Site B, it found many of the dirt roads were under water.

In the low-lying areas, the shacks were divided by a maze of mini rivers, which residents sloshed through in rubber boots.

Portia Franscois, 20, said on Thursday morning she was worried the water would not stop rising.

As rain pelted the township on Wednesday night, water had begun to trickle in through the gap underneath her door. By 6am, there was 10cm of water in the dwelling, turning the bed she shares with her mother and two children into an island.

She said the stormwater had made her 2-year-old child sick.

“He has a rash because the water is very dirty.”

Franscois is planning to stay with friends on the other side of the township until the floods subside.

Her neighbour Nombasa Mthusanto said her furniture had been damaged by the floods.

Relief efforts have started with the city and NGOs handing out baby and flood kits, Bosman said.

With the SA Weather Service warning heavy rainfall was set to persist today, there are fears flooding could, get worse, specially in Khayelitsha which is built on a floodplain.

Lavender Hill and Sir Lowry’s Pass were among the areas flooded today.

Bosman said about 5 000 people had been affected across the city.

However, the city said conditions were not severe enough to evacuate township residents.

This morning, there was minor flooding on roads in the southern suburbs but City Traffic Services spokesman Richard Coleman said there had been no reports of serious crashes.

Waves rose up to 6m on Wednesday and on Thursday morning, wreaking havoc at sea.

A teenage girl was admitted to hospital on Wednesday suffering from hypothermia and another with a leg injury, the National Sea Rescue Institute said.

“A 17-year-old female was transported to hospital suffering a leg injury and a 16-year-old female was transported to hospital suffering hypothermia,” spokesman Craig Lambinon said.

The girls were part of the Knysna sailing team taking part in the 2014 Lipton Cup Challenge in False Bay.

Lambinon said six boys from Bishops Diocesan College taking part in the challenge were rescued after their yacht was blown out to sea.

He said they had reported their mainsail had been damaged and wrapped around the forestay. The yacht had been towed into the harbour.

The storms are set to clear by Friday morning.

Madonsela calls for rational discourse on Nkandla letter

PUBLIC Protector Thuli Madonsela on Thursday called for "trust, common dignity and rational discourse" in the dispute over the letter her office wrote last week to President Jacob Zuma demanding answers on opulent state expenditure at his private residence in Nkandla.

Speaking at a media briefing in Pretoria, Ms Madonsela said she would seek a meeting with Mr Zuma to discuss co-operation between her office and the government. She said attacks on the integrity of her office, which she referred to as "the noise", were not coming from government as an institution.

"We are going through a difficult moment regarding the role of this office. (But) we also believe that there are opportunities for finding common ground," Ms Madonsela said at the briefing at her office.

Ms Madonsela said no problem was "insurmountable when there is a will to solve it. The starting point is to acknowledge there is a problem." She said "we cannot hope to get different results from our actions if our actions remain unchanged".

She said "those outside the state should allow the state to function".

On Tuesday, after a meeting of its national working committee, the governing African National Congress (ANC) accused her of trying to discredit its leadership, of acting "above the constitution" and of casting South Africa in a negative light.

The confrontation has shifted the focus from her concern that Mr Zuma had not adequately responded to her Nkandla report onto a debate over her alleged political intentions.

The Nkandla scandal is seen by many in the ANC as damaging to its moral standing and divisive.

The ANC was reacting to a letter Ms Madonsela wrote to Mr Zuma to remind him he had not responded appropriately to her report. This after Mr Zuma made a statement in Parliament on August 14 ostensibly in response.

The ANC "observed" that she wrote the letter on the day the Economic Freedom Fighters disrupted Parliament when its members demanded to know whether Mr Zuma would pay back the money for the upgrades to Nkandla.

ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe said the "tight co-ordination" of the "offensive" against Mr Zuma was "interesting", because Ms Madonsela had been seen in the parliamentary precinct on the same day.

The ANC further challenged Ms Madonsela to reveal the name of the senior ANC leader who she alleged had leaked her letter to Mr Zuma to the media.

Ms Madonsela said dialogue was the only way to solve the matter. She said her intentions were to avoid going to court.

AfriForum on Thursday opened a case against Mr Mantashe and his deputy Jessie Duarte for allegedly contravening the Public Protector Act.

"The charges flow from a series of insults which were made by Mantashe and Duarte at a media conference two days back against Public Protector Thuli Madonsela," AfriForum deputy CEO Ernst Roets said.

According to sections nine and 11 of the act it was a crime to insult the public protector, he said, adding that any person found guilty could be fined R40,000 or sentenced to a year in prison.

Judge slams District Six building

Cape Town - Cape Peninsula University of Technology’s (CPUT) management has been taken to task by its council’s former chairman who says the institution has a lack of sensitivity about District Six – the land it is situated on.

Judge Siraj Desai has spoken out about CPUT’s construction of residences on a prominent District Six memorial site, saying the university’s current management must be “oblivious” to the history of the land.

“I was extremely surprised to see a building springing up on campus territory,” he said on Wednesday.

Judge Desai said he attended the inauguration of CPUT’s rector and vice-chancellor, Dr Prins Nevhutalu, and noticed that in his speech there was no reference to District Six.

“It appeared to me as if he was oblivious to the sensitive nature of the land,” Judge Desai said.

He felt that the insensitivity of building on land that held a memorial cairn for District Six and its former residents, especially “on the spine of Hanover Street”, showed that CPUT failed to understand the “savagery which underpinned its demolition”.

Judge Desai, a senior judge of the Western Cape High Court, said he had been a “regular opponent” whenever there had been talk of building in District Six.

He is the former chairman of the CPUT council, has long been involved in District Six preservation campaigns and still continues to sit on the board of the District Six Museum.

In the late 1990s , then minister of education Sibusiso Bengu appointed Judge Desai to the council of the then Cape Technikon, now CPUT, and told him at the time: “What I want you to do is protect the people of District Six.”

Throughout his time on the council, he said, he adopted the position that District Six must always have a representative, someone who was “acutely aware of the sensitive nature of the land”.

“At that stage, whether it was written or not, the university adopted the position that there be no further developments in District Six. Not until land restitution had been resolved,” Judge Desai said.

“In my time no buildings were erected on District Six land.”

He said everyone on the council respected that the institution might have title to the land, but that title did not make legitimate the illegal dispossession of District Six.

“I do not know when and how the campus changed its position.”

He said that in the past there had been people in the community who felt that the campus “must be razed to the ground brick by brick” because some had “adopted the position that the apartheid grand plan was to locate it there to obliterate the memory of District Six”.

But Judge Desai said he resisted that call, believing that the campus could become an integral part of the emerging community in District Six.

“But that’s hardly likely with the current leaders.”

Now he wants to warn CPUT that after 40 or more years of campaigning for the land to be restored to its rightful owners nobody is going to give up at this stage.

“There is no resolution of this matter and there will be no resolution of this matter until management begins to understand the historic sensitivity of this land,” he added.

And he called for Higher Education Minister Blade Nzimande to follow in the progressive view adopted by his predecessor Bengu and protect the interests of the area and its people.

CPUT spokesman Thami Nkwanyane said he could not comment on the new campus residence or any claims of violation from the District Six Museum “until further notice”.

After a meeting with the District Six Museum last Thursday, he told the Cape Times that it had ended amicably, but museum director Bonita Bennett later said it still needed answers as well as an apology for what she called CPUT’s wrongdoing.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

‘Aerotropolis’ planned for invaded Philippi land

Cape Town - The land illegally invaded in Philippi last week is destined to become the site of a significant new job-creator and economic hub which is part of a huge industrial development proposal.

The owner of Erf 145 and other private landowners in Philippi have an interdict from the Wynberg Magistrate’s Court preventing any illegal occupation or trespassing on the land.

The same applied to erfs 145, 20858, 135, 416, 586, 4115, 532, 589 and 143, as well as Farm 597/1. These parcels of land are all between Sheffield, Stock and Lansdowne roads, and together make up about 40 hectares.

The collective development had been branded an “aerotropolis”, which built “economic benefits around major airports, cities and immediate environs”, said The Waterstreet Group’s spokesman, Oscar Saunderson. “The aerotropolis develops spines or nodes of commercial and residential development as a joint venture between the airport, harbour, airlines, the city, province and the airports company of a region.

“Airports are now driving economic location just as canals and railways did before.”

Saunderson quoted the chief executive of Manchester City, Sir Howard Bernstein, who forecast: “The top 600 cities in the world will change and 100 new ones will emerge.

IOL marikana  cape Mawethu Mfazwe done
Marikana informal settlement residents have no intention of moving from land they are squatting on. File picture: David Ritchie
“International collaboration and trade will become fundamental to city strategy, as will connectivity, and the aerotropolis covers both elements.”

The aerotropolis drove growth since airports became preferred hubs where a primary business community, in time, established itself.

“With things like data parks, diamond-cutting plants, cold storage, comes African head offices and growing demand for more air routes, and stopovers, and finally shopping, and spending in our town. This can create thousands of jobs, and thriving tourism businesses.

“Cape Town’s industrial and warehousing market is in demand, specifically around the airport. With all the import to and export from southern Africa, we believe that there is an increasing opportunity to establish a strong air freight hub in Cape Town.”

The developers and landowners include Power Developments Projects, H&T Prop CC, PJL Prop, Anika Delicio, Maria Salvatore Delicio and Annemarie Delicio.

Some of the proposed development will comprise “a mixed high-density area of industrial development, with housing complexes, wholesale and retail shopping centres” providing thousands of jobs.

“The industrial hive will include small business creation, various public facilities such as clinics, crèches, schools and recreational areas,” the collective development group said in its interdict application.

Saunderson said: “This envisaged business park is intended to be an industrial centre for the entire Philippi and surrounding area, an area to date characterised by its almost total lack of large-scale industrial, and accordingly job-creating, activity.”

The developers argued in their court application: “The business park has enormous benefits for the entire community and it will literally create thousands of jobs in an area where they are sorely lacking. Several thousand jobs will be created during the initial construction phase, which will continue for approximately two to three years. After this (we) understand approximately 65 000 jobs and career opportunities will be created…

“(We) do not believe it needs repetition that one of the most urgent needs in the Western Cape, and the country as a whole, is private job creation. (We) would submit that many of the social ills that currently afflict the region, including lack of access to housing, flow directly from lack of opportunities available to persons to generate income in order to properly provide for themselves and their families.”

The applicants are also members of the Philippi Economic Development Initiative, “an agglomeration of landowners, businessmen, residents, the City of Cape Town, and diverse other interested parties and community organisations, whose sole purpose is the economic upliftment of the entire Philippi area, an area historically marked by serious neglect and underdevelopment.”

‘The victims are invariably the poor’

In an affidavit before the Wynberg Magistrate’s Court one of the applicants, Gary Power, alleges: “I suppose that it is possible that all of a sudden several people spontaneously and simultaneously decided to occupy the property, but would submit that there are strong indicators that the real reason for the prospective land invasion is the insidious practice known as ‘plot farming’.

“What this entails is that a consortium of persons identifies an area of vacant land and then lets it be known, frequently using fake credentials, that they are entitled to allocate portions of that land to landless persons.

“The consortium then extracts payment from persons who believe they are buying a real right to land, usually R500,” the affidavit reads.

Alternatively, the people were told they would be allocated land if they paid a “membership fee”.

These fraudulent property “sellers” usually marked out erfs with pegs and string or tape, adding apparent authenticity to the supposed sale.

After the buyers had been evicted they found the consortium had disbanded and disappeared.

The developers said these victims were “invariably the poorest of the poor who can ill afford spending any amount unnecessarily, are out of pocket and often without a home”.

The developers had seen first-hand how plots had been delineated on the sites of the illegal land invasions, leading them to believe that plot farming was behind recent land invasions.

On September 10 the court will rule on whether the interdict barring land invasions should be made permanent.

The court demands that the police, with the support of the metro police and other relevant enforcement agencies, must take action should the court interdict be broken.

But it was in terms of basic criminal law – which prohibits trespassing – that the police and metro police guarded the site on Friday as the shacks were dismantled and their materials removed from the site.

The City of Cape Town’s Richard Bosman said about 307 structures had been dismantled.

‘We won’t go’

Marikana informal settlement residents have no intention of moving from land they are squatting on.

The privately-owned land in Philippi was invaded about three weeks ago.

The squatters were removed after the developer got a court order but when the Cape Argus visited the informal settlement on Monday, the whole area had been re-occupied.

The residents refused to vacate the land, saying the developer would have to find another site for the mall.

Thando Matiwane, a resident, said: “I do not understand this mall thing. How do you evict people and pull down their homes just for the sake of building a mall? Who is going to buy from that mall?”

Matiwane moved from his backyard home in Lower Crossroads to Marikana two weeks ago.He said he could not afford the R400 rent.

Another resident, Lisa Qomoyi, a mother of two who runs a business selling chicken feet, said the developer should forget about the mall.

“We are not moving from here. So many malls have been built around this area yet none are functioning well. This area has grown to become my business; there is no way I am moving.”

Qomoyi lived in Nyanga before moving to Philippi. She said since coming to Cape Town from the Transkei in 1984, she had not been given a house nor secured a proper job.

“Parts of Gugulethu, KTC and Nyanga all started as informal settlements. Residents fought for their homes and look, now they are still there. Why can we not fight for our own homes?”

The residents said they did not care whether the mall would create employment for them.

Mawethu Mfazwe said: “So many malls have been built in this area. Look at Philippi Plaza or the Gugulethu Square, but none of the employees are from those areas. These companies bring workers of their own. This mall would be useless. How do we shop when we have no shelter?” – Additional reporting by Zodidi Dano

‘Cops may have acted outside the law’

Cape Town - Police involved in the eviction of people from Lwandle in June may have acted outside of the law and without any regard for the community they were supposed to protect, a ministerial inquiry into the removals has heard.

Members of the public order police who enforced the court order obtained in January by the SA National Road Agency (Sanral), on Tuesday faced a grilling from the inquiry set up by Human Settlements Minister Lindiwe Sisulu to investigate the evictions.

A 20-minute video showed edited footage of the first day of the evictions. Members of the inquiry interrogated the police’s operational plan for the evictions, why the legality of the eviction order was not properly verified, the lack of engagement with the community and the ward councillor and the use of force and pepper spray to manage residents who resisted.

Advocate Denzil Potgieter, who chaired the inquiry, said the police acted on an interim and not a final eviction order, making them “complicit” in flouting the law.

But Lieutenant-Colonel Jimmy Lucas, who was the operational commander for the evictions on June 2, said he had been assured by Sanral that the eviction order was valid.


But inquiry member Annelize van Wyk wanted to know why the police would defer to Sanral’s legal team instead of their own internal legal unit.

“I find it of concern that we keep hearing ‘what does Sanral want from us’ and not ‘what does the law want from us’,” said Van Wyk.

But Lucas said: “I had no reason at all not to believe this was a valid order.”

He added that if he had refused to comply, he would have been brought before the high court for being in contempt of court.


Facing a barrage of questions from the inquiry, Lucas repeatedly defended his team’s actions, saying that the police had an obligation to maintain law and order. Faced with mounting violence from the angry community, the police had acted accordingly.

They also had to protect people living in the nearby formal dwellings.

He added that he had allowed residents to collect personal belongings before the demolished structures were removed. When asked if he would have done anything differently, Lucas said: “I don’t think I would have done anything else.”

The hearings were adjourned until on Thursday so that the operational commander for the second day of evictions could appear before the inquiry.

He was expected to testify on Tuesday, but failed to turn up.

Van Wyk said this was a sign of “ill-discipline” and she demanded that the police appear again before the inquiry. “They’ve got to take responsibility for the operation as a unit.”

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

ANC, Protector go head to head

The ANC does not want to see Public Protector Thuli Madonsela vacate her office before the end of her term but she must do her job correctly, party secretary general Gwede Mantashe said on Tuesday.

“We don't want to remove the public protector, we want the public protector to do her work correctly and behave correctly,” Mantashe told reporters in Johannesburg.

“We have no interest in removing her. She must finish her term but she must not abuse that term.”

Mantashe said there was a sense that Madonsela was abusing her office and was always trying to get the attention of the media by saying things that were not in any report or being investigated anywhere.

“That is what we are talking about. That is why we are not attacking the public protector or her office but we are attacking the behaviour that is wrong,” he said.

Mantashe then turned his attention to the leaking to the media of Madonsela's reports. He said the leaks could not be attributed to divisions within the ANC.

The statement follows Madonsela's claim that a letter she had written to President Jacob Zuma was leaked by a senior ANC official to the media.

Madonsela reportedly wrote to Zuma last week about the spending of R246 million on security upgrades at his Nkandla, KwaZulu-Natal homestead.

In her letter, she cautioned Zuma he was second-guessing her recommendations that he should repay part of the money spent on features unrelated to security, such as a swimming pool, cattle kraal, amphitheatre, and visitors' centre.

In his reply to her report on Nkandla, Zuma indicated Police Minister Nathi Nhleko needed to determine if he should pay back any of the R246 million.

Madonsela wrote in her letter: “I am concerned that the decision you have made regarding the police minister gives him power he does not have under law, which is to review my decision taken in pursuit of the powers of administrative scrutiny I am given... by the Constitution.”

Madonsela said on Monday that she had reason to believe a senior ANC official leaked her letter to the media.

Mantashe countered: “The office of the public protector leaks every report she writes and blames that on the divisions within the ANC.”

Mantashe said it had become the norm that all public protector reports would be leaked to the media before she had even released them.

“I know that every report she has been involved in... I'm going to read about it in the newspaper before it is released.

“That can never be because of divisions in the ANC. We deal with our own divisions but the public protector's office must be watertight. You can't leak information and blame the ANC divisions,” he said.

Mantashe and his deputy Jesse Duarte continued hammering the issue of leaks and Duarte questioned the manner in which the explanations for the leaks were given, but individuals not named.

“Each leak is glibly explained away. Who is that senior official who leaked the letter? There is nothing unfortunate about the leaks, they are timed and deliberate,” Duarte said.

Duarte and Mantashe questioned the timing of the leaking of the letter and the heckling of Zuma in Parliament by members of the Economic Freedom Fighters, after the EFF asked when Zuma would pay back the Nkandla money. Proceedings had to be stopped for the day and riot police were called in.

“A leak at the same time when the EFF undermines the people of SA is too much of a coincidence,” said Duarte.

Mantashe called on Madonsela not to get involved in politics and to stop behaving like a political institution.

He said the public protector should get out of the political space and leave political parties to sort themselves out.

Madonsela then took to twitter to defend herself against the barrage of attacks by the pair. She stood her ground and questioned how accountability was weakening democracy.

“Can someone please say how exactly is the deepening of accountability a weakening of parliamentary democracy... Let's face th truth. What's embarrassing the country is attempts to subvert the rule of law & not administrative scrutiny (sic),” she said.

Madonsela said if everyone respected the Constitution and the law, there would be no crisis in the country.

She said politicians should stop interfering with her work.

“Administrative scrutiny is a reality if our constitutional democracy. It's not a political exercise & Politicians should stop interfering (sic),” she tweeted.

Madonsela said the country was in trouble when politicians meddled in the investigation processes, leaked documents then cried foul.

The EFF on Tuesday denied any link to the leaking of the letter and their heckling of Zuma.

Spokesman Mbuyiseni Ndlozi said the ANC was trying to detract attention from the Nkandla issue.

“The ANC has lost the public relations war and now they have to concoct a story to defer the issue that is on the table, which is Nkandla,” he said.

Ndlozi accused Zuma of being the one who leaked the document to the media.

“If there is anyone with a history of leaking information it is Jacob Zuma to distract the public's attention as we saw with the Mzilikazi (waAfrika) story,” he said.

In his book, waAfrika claims that Zuma leaked information about Bulelani Ngcuka being a former apartheid spy.

Ndlozi called on the ANC to stop attacking Madonsela's office.

“We condemn in the strongest way the continuing intimidation and war that has been declared on the public protector,” he said.

- Sapa

Cops grilled on Lwandle removals

Cape Town - An inquiry investigating the removal of people and structures in Lwandle, Cape Town, asked a police operational commander on Tuesday what he could have done differently.

Lt-Col Jimmy Lucas endured a day of tough questions from the Lwandle inquiry, but remained adamant he had done his best on June 2, the day he was in charge.

“I don't think I would have done anything else other than what I did on that day.”

Human Settlements Minister Lindiwe Sisulu set up the inquiry, to probe the removals of June 2 and June 3.

Lucas said police were called to maintain public order and help the SA National Roads Agency Limited (Sanral) effect a court order to remove illegal shack dwellers from its land.

The police had anticipated they would be met with violence but were surprised at how quickly it escalated. Residents were seen throwing petrol bombs at police vehicles.

Inquiry members wanted to know why Lucas “disrespected” local councillor Mbuyiselo Matha, who pleaded with him on June 2 to call off the removals and negotiate around a table.

“You did not co-operate with that councillor... He felt belittled by yourself. We even saw him walk away and crying,” inquiry member Mampe Ramotsomai said.

The inquiry wanted to know why he had not asked Matha to speak with residents and calm the situation.

After watching the relevant video clip, Lucas testified that he spent 10 minutes listening to Matha, while monitoring the nearby angry crowd and deciding on the next move.

The inquiry felt the situation was not as tense as Lucas had suggested.

In reply, Lucas said of a man in the crowd: “That is a petrol bomb. That is not a beer he is drinking, honourable chairperson.”

The operational commander for June 3, Captain Andre de Graaff, did not appear before the inquiry on Tuesday, despite a subpoena.

The inquiry arranged for a postponement earlier in August to allow De Graaff to testify, as he was on leave at the time.

Advocate Ncumisa Mayosi, instructed by the State attorney on behalf of the SA Police Service, said the police intended taking up the matter internally.

“SAPS doesn't have an explanation for why (he is not here) as he is expected to be here by his superiors,” she said.

The inquiry was postponed until Thursday for further police testimony.

- Sapa

Monday, August 25, 2014

Nkandla ad hoc committee takes shape

Many of President Zuma's allies make up the ad hoc committee which will interrogate public protector Thuli Madonsela's report on Nkandla upgrades.

The ANC has deployed a formidable team of President Jacob Zuma’s allies to the ad hoc committee that will interrogate public protector Thuli Madonsela’s report on the multi-million rand upgrades at Zuma’s Nkandla’s home, and his response to the matter. 

The ANC announced it will nominate Cedric Frolick to chair the committee. He also chaired the initial ad hoc committee that was established to investigate the upgrade just before the May 7 general elections.

Frolick is viewed as a fair and objective house chairperson by opposition parties, and was known to be close to former speaker Max Sisulu in the fourth Parliament. 

On Monday, former ANC chief whip Mathole Motshekga, a well known adversary of Madonsela, said it was not up to her to decide if Zuma’s response to her Nkandla report was adequate or not.

Motshekga, who has had frequent clashes with the public protector, said it should be the job of the ad hoc committee to assess his response.

Motshekga referred to Madonsela’s handling of the Nkandla saga as “disrespectful” to Parliament and said Madonsela should refrain from engaging in extra-parliamentary processes.    

The ANC has also nominated deputy chief whip Doris Dlakude to be a member of the ad hoc committee.

She was also a member of the committee that was established before the elections and she played hard ball alongside her comrades. She first delayed the committee’s work by requesting extra time to read the documents and then later proposed that the inter-ministerial task team report, which had cleared Zuma of any wrongdoing, also be considered alongside the report of the public protector and the Special Investigations Unit. 

Risks of earthquakes, rape and flooding 
The ANC is expected to insist on this again when the new committee convenes. The initial task team had found that a high risk of earthquakes, volatile politics and high levels of rape in the Nkandla region were some of the reasons behind the upgrade to Zuma’s home. 

“In terms of natural hazards, Nkandla can be susceptible to strong earthquakes [at] an average [of] one earthquake every 50 years, with occurrences at five to six [on the] Richter scale. While there is a medium to low risk of periods with extreme drought, the risk [of] flooding is also very high,” stated a report of parliament’s joint standing committee on intelligence, which was based on information the committee received from the task team. 

Francois Beukman, former executive director of the Independent Police Investigative Directorate, former ANC deputy chief whip Mmamoloko Kubayi, Beatrice Ngcobo and Lindiwe Maseko complete the ANC team. 

“The list we have recommended to the Speaker is composed of very capable individuals with parliamentary experience, political expertise and legal know-how necessary to the issue the ad hoc committee is mandated to consider”, said the party in a statement.

“The office of the ANC chief whip is confident that the following capable individuals will assist the ad hoc committee and Parliament to achieve its objectives.”

Freedom Front Plus’s Corne Mulder and the Inkatha Freedom Party’s Narend Singh will represent the smaller parties, while the Economic Freedom Fighters are expected to deploy their leader, Julius Malema, to the committee. 

The National Assembly resolved to re-establish an 11-member ad hoc committee to consider the Nkandla upgrades last Tuesday. The committee is scheduled to report back to the sitting of the House no later than October 24 2014.

- M&G