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Monthly Archives: May 2012

More cops on Cape Town streets

More than 100 new metro police officers will hit Cape Town’s streets over the next few months, as the department beefs up its specialised units after receiving a multimillion-rand boost this week.

This week, the City of Cape Town approved its budget for the next financial year, which begins in July.

The funds for policing will also go partly to buying more vehicles and hand-held radios for officers, as well as to the launch of the Smartcop system.

Safety and Security was allocated R1.3 billion for its operating budget and R52 million for its capital budget. Mayoral committee member for safety and security JP Smith explained that the operating budget had increased by R30m since the draft budget had been tabled earlier this year.

He estimated the department would now be able to hire around 115 new staff across all divisions.

At the moment, there are just over 600 metro police officers.

“There will be more metro police, traffic officers, law enforcement officers and firefighters. (Those sections) will receive an equal share,” said Smith.

Some of the new officers will work in the gang unit, which has made 107 arrests since its establishment in December.

More appointments are set for the drug enforcement unit, the liquor control unit and in the division dealing with “problem buildings”.

More public transport police will also be hired. These officers are currently based at transport hubs in Bellville, Philippi and at the city centre’s station deck. This service is expected to be extended to Wynberg, Mitchells Plain and Nyanga over the next few months.

Additional staff will also be hired to work in marine and environmental enforcement, handling issues along the shoreline.

More firefighters and traffic officers will also be employed. In a new project, school resource officers will be appointed to “improve safety in the most troubled schools”.

For the first time, law enforcement reservists will also be brought on boared.

Smith said in some cases officers had to share vehicles. He said additional vehicles meant more staff would be mobile and able to respond to incidents. Older vehicles were costing more money in maintenance. These would be phased out.

Hand-held radios will be bought, which would address a major shortage. “We can catch up on the backlog, where some staff were not connected to dispatch,” said Smith.

The Smartcop system will also start operating later this year.

“Our traffic vehicles will be the first of any city to sport dashboard cameras to help make our roads safer. These types of smart policing interventions allow us to do more with less and drive intelligent policing,” Smith added.

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Posted by on May 31, 2012 in Have your Say

 

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Parliament move mooted

Parliament’s future in Cape Town has again been called into question, with a new proposal for it to be moved to Gauteng.

During Tuesday’s debate on Parliament’s R1.763 billion budget, during which the institution came under severe criticism from opposition benches, a long-standing critic of its Cape Town location, ANC MP Vincent Smith, said it would work better if it was moved.

“South Africa is probably the only country worldwide where the seat of the legislature is more than 1 000km way from the seat of government,” he said.

Smith noted that MPs were frequently criticised for the expenses the current arrangement necessitated – such as flights, car-hire and accommodation.

Michael Bagraim, president of the Cape Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said in response on Wednesday he was “shocked to the core” that the issue had been raised again.

“It’s been debated repeatedly and proven, on every occasion, to be too costly and cumbersome.”

Bagraim warned that a host of highly qualified staff would have to be uprooted and there would be a “staggering” cost for new buildings.

Parliament’s seat in Cape Town has been challenged on a number of occasions in recent years – most recently last November, also by Smith.

Prior to that, in 2009, the issue was raised by President Kgalema Motlanthe, who said hosting itin Cape Town was an “expensive practice”.

Motlanthe said a ministerial task team looking to curb wasteful government spending was investigating its possible relocation and that its

report would go before the cabinet for consideration before any decision was taken.

No report followed, however, and no decision was taken

.

Cape Town Partnership’s Andrew Boraine said on Wednesday that Cape Town should never believe it had a right to host Parliament, but had continually to earn it. “Cape Town cannot be complacent,” he said. “It’s our job to make this an attractive city to everyone, including MPs and government.”

Boraine cautioned that a full analysis would need to be done to calculate precisely how much such a move could save, and its cost.

If ever Parliament did move, however, Boraine said there would be no shortage of takers for its properties.

 
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Posted by on May 31, 2012 in Politics

 

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Wedding Expo

 
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Posted by on May 25, 2012 in Events

 

DA has cleaned ANC stables – Zille

A year the 2011 local government polls, the DA claims it has put to rights much of the “damage” wreaked by the ANC in the 13 municipalities it snatched.

Most of the new DA-run municipalities were off to a good start, “cleaning out the stables they inherited” and salvaging municipal finances, DA leader Helen Zille said in a report on the party’s achievements in the past year. She added that it took some months for the full extent of the “damage” to become apparent.

The DA won 13 new councils – Bitou, Breede Valley, Drakenstein, George, Hantam, Hessequa, Karoo Hoogland, Knysna, Laingsburg, Langeberg, Nama Khoi, Saldanha Bay and Witzenberg.

Zille said the outgoing administrations were, as a rule, anything but co-operative.

“Issues included missing documents, break-ins, harassment and theft, as well as damaged, broken or stolen equipment.”

In many cases, she said, these actions were not simply vindictive, but apparently designed to destroy records, including clues to corruption.

The four biggest new DA municipalities – Breede Valley, Drakenstein, George and Saldanha Bay – were nearing financial collapse.

“Unaffordable excesses like international travel, food for councillors, mayors’ cars and, most costly of all, jobs for pals, meant that most of these councils faced a crisis of liquidity,” Zille said.

The new DA administrations were also hamstrung when taking corrective action, as all had to operate using budgets passed by the previous ANC administrations in the last few days before elections.

“In three municipalities – Bitou, Drakenstein and Hantam – the last ANC budget did not even cover staff salaries for the next year. Under the new DA administration all three were forced to take emergency measures… just to pay staff.”

Breede Valley’s financial crisis epitomised the situation at all these local councils.

Zille said the ANC had continued to spend freely, despite the recession.

“When the DA came to office, our first business was to cut this undisciplined expenditure on ‘nice-to-haves’. In the three largest new DA municipalities, Breede Valley, Drakenstein and George alone, these cuts saved some R140 million in the first year (2011/12). This process continues into the second year of DA governance.”

Zille added that one of the biggest inherited problems in municipalities was the blurring of the critical distinction between party and state.

“Many municipal managers under the ANC display openly partisan behaviour,” she charged. She made reference to a Saldanha case where the municipal manager – a former ANC party secretary for the Boland region – appointed a number of party members to the municipal housing and social services departments. “Despite the 18 officials in its housing department, Saldanha Bay constructed only 646 houses in 2010, while DA-run Swartland, a smaller municipality with only two housing officials, built over 2 000.”

Zille accused the ANC of treating municipalities as employment agencies, but said the new DA administrations had already demonstrated that impartial and honest administration was the key to delivery.

But she conceded that it would take a long time to turn around the affected municipalities, before people started to see and feel results.

Asked to comment, ANC’s metro chairman Xolani Sotashe rubbished Zille’s report card as yet another DA public relations exercise.

There was a forensic investigation into shady deals involving officials of the city of Cape Town, he said, “but as expected, the DA remains quiet about it”.

Sotashe added the city had for two consecutive years failed to spend its budget, “and it appears that for the current financial year the DA-led city will again have an under-spending problem”.

He pointed out that Cape Town Mayor Patricia de Lille conceded last week that there were continuing inequalities.

“The DA was going around saying that the city was on the brink of collapse when they took over, when in fact the municipality had well over R2 billion in reserve in 2006.”

 
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Posted by on May 21, 2012 in Politics

 

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Building, shacks burn in blazes across city

Firefighters spent hours battling a blaze that broke out in a Bree Street building in the city.

Fire department spokesman Theo Layne said the ground and first floors of the Imbuyambo Cultural Centre, near the corner of Bree and Prestwich streets, caught fire at about 12.40pm yesterday.

No injuries were reported and the cause of the fire has not yet been determined.

“There was nobody inside when firefighters arrived on the scene,” Layne said.

The fire attracted the attention of hundreds of spectators throughout the afternoon, who stood watching the firefighters, and taking pictures and videos with their cellphones.

Big black clouds of smoke billowed from the building as a fireman on a crane blasted water over the top of the smouldering building.

Some roads in the area were closed.

By late yesterday afternoon, firefighters were still at the scene, but Layne said the fire was under control.

Two people died and another two were injured in shack fires across the city at the weekend.

On Friday night a Gugulethu man died from his burn wounds after a shack in NY6 caught fire about 8pm.

In an earlier fire in Site C, Khayelitsha, a man and woman sustained burn wounds when their shack caught fire.

In

Zonnebloem, a man died after a backyard shack burnt to the ground just before midnight on Friday.

Four people were displaced but unharmed when a fire in Monwabisi Park destroyed three shacks in the early hours of yesterday morning, disaster management spokesman Wilfred Solomons-Johannes said

 
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Posted by on May 21, 2012 in Have your Say

 

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Cosatu hits back after DA march

Cosatu issued a counter-memorandum to the DA on Tuesday afternoon after violence broke out during the opposition party’s youth subsidy wage march in Johannesburg, forcing it to be abandoned.

The march, meant to be a peaceful protest, turned ugly when DA members were attacked by Cosatu supporters in Jorissen Street in Braamfontein, leaving at least three DA members with head injuries.

Cosatu members claimed to have been provoked by DA leader Helen Zille when she marched her supporters to within 50m of Cosatu House.

One of the injured was taken to hospital by ambulance after being hit by a flying brick, and a journalist was also caught in the mêlée, suffering a facial injury.

Police fired rubber bullets and sprayed tear gas at Cosatu supporters, dressed in red T-shirts, as they blocked the DA marchers.

The DA had marched to Cosatu House to deliver a memorandum to demand government wage subsidies for young people, which the party says will create more than 400 000 jobs, but the protest was eventually abandoned because of the violence.

Copy of Copy of ct cosda210Cosatu supporters dodge and throw rocks at DA supporters during clashes after a DA march. Picture: Chris Collingridge

INLSA

The government’s own wage subsidy proposal has been held up in discussions at Nedlac for a year.

However, Cosatu national spokesman, Patrick Craven, said in the counter-memorandum that the DA was serving the interests of big business and capitalism based on the false premise that the cause of high unemployment was the high cost of labour and restrictive labour laws that made it too hard to fire workers.

“No workers will be deceived by its programme, which is pro-big business and anti-workers, pro-rich and anti-poor,” said Craven. “The workers’ struggles to build a new and better SA cannot be led by those who benefited, and continue to profit, from inequalities, poverty and our oppression, and want to continue pursuing policies to entrench these injustices.”

Craven said the economy was still in white hands, and that the real beneficiaries of the proposed wage subsidy were the white males who stood to gain from increased production at lower costs.

The ANC, which had warned the DA not to go ahead with the march, said it was a publicity stunt by the DA to draw attention to itself.

ANC spokesman, Keith Khoza, said the march had achieved nothing besides provocation and fuelling violence among members of the tripartite alliance – Cosatu, the SACP and the ANC.

Copy of nd ST DA March 467A Cosatu member uses a shock stick to stop one of the DA marchers, who were trying to make their way to the federations Johannesburg headquarters to hand in a memorandum. Picture: Boxer Ngwenya

INLSA

“We, as the ANC, cautioned the DA not to go ahead with the march, and it has achieved nothing and certainly won’t achieve anything because Cosatu does not deal with policy issues. It is a federation that looks after the interests of its members,” said Khoza.

He said the DA should have addressed the issue through parliamentary structures instead of trying to storm through Cosatu headquarters.

DA parliamentary leader, Lindiwe Mazibuko, told the crowd they were on the same side, fighting for economic freedom.

 

DA national spokesman, Mmusi Maimane, said the party would be laying criminal charges against Cosatu’s leadership for intimidation, inciting violence and holding an illegal gathering.

 

Craven said there had been injuries on both sides and, while it condemned “these acts of violence unreservedly”, the “vast majority of its members” had conducted themselves with “exemplary discipline and restraint”.

 
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Posted by on May 16, 2012 in Have your Say

 

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Tag opens door for death row prisoner

Twenty-three years ago, Paul Evans was sentenced to hang and put on death row.

On Tuesday, prison officials strapped an electronic monitoring device to his ankle as he started a new chapter of freedom.

Evans, 44, was arrested for murder and robbery at the age of 18 and was sentenced three years later.

The demise of apartheid and termination of the death penalty resulted in Evans’s sentence being commuted to life imprisonment.

He received a second chance when the Department of Correctional Services chose him as one of the parolees to be fitted with the new monitoring device.

Evans was overwhelmed when he spoke about where his life was now compared with 23 years ago.

“I knew what my sentence would be and I was prepared to die. I also couldn’t live with myself for what I did.

“When Nelson Mandela took away the death penalty, it was a big adjustment.

“I had to change my thought pattern to spend at least 20 years in prison.”

Evans was denied parole on three occasions. His fourth attempt was successful and he became a day-parolee after serving 21 years and seven months of his life term.

As a day parolee, he is free to leave the correctional centre but has to sleep there. “I learnt a lot about my life, the cost of crime and what it meant to the people outside. I have no intention of coming back. It took me 12 years to realise there is life beyond prison and I met amazing people who helped rehabilitate me.

“This is an opportunity and I will grab it with both hands to lead a better life,” he said.

Evans studied sports psychology, electrical engineering and IT technology while he was incarcerated. He said he was looking for a job.

On Tuesday, Correctional Services Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula launched the pilot project for the electronic monitoring system at the Drakenstein prison.

The department will run the project for the next 12 months at a cost of R6.5 million.

So far 108 parolees have been fitted with the ankle device and the department plans to fit another 150 parolees.

The device is clamped on to the parolee’s ankle, activated and linked to a GPS system within seconds.

A control room will monitor the parolee and an alarm will go off when curfews and conditions are violated.

Paedophiles, for example, will be restricted from going near places where children are present, such as schools.

The device must remain attached to the parolee at all times. If it is tampered with, an alarm will be activated.

The department’s director for supervision of parolees, Ronald Ntuli, said: “So far, the project has been successful and we can track parolees anytime, anywhere.

“The cost of the device is R118 a day compared to the cost of more than R300 a day to maintain a prisoner, so it also addresses overcrowding.”

Mapisa-Nqakula said she would receive regular reports on how the system was faring.

“There is a need for the department to build a community correctional system that will earn the respect of the judiciary and society.

“We are releasing people and some of them have committed serious crimes but the public can have confidence and feel safe that there is a monitoring system in place and should not feel intimidated that inmates are being released,” she said.

* The Minister of Justice and Constitutional Development, Jeff Radebe, has opened the first court building in the small farming community of Ashton. The court was completed in October 2010 at a cost of R7.6 million.

 
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Posted by on May 16, 2012 in Have your Say

 

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