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Telkom cuts off provincial ANC offices due to non-payment

The land lines to ANC offices in five of the nine provinces have been disconnected by Telkom due to non-payment of bills.

Calls to the Telkom landline contact numbers for provincial offices displayed on the ANC website revealed that offices in the Western Cape, the Northern Cape, Mpumalanga, Limpopo and Free State have been disconnected.

Enquiries at Telkom revealed that all these offices had not paid their bills.

The Western Cape ANC office owes Telkom R146 043.94. It could not be established how much the other provincial offices owe the communications parastatal.

The disconnection of the telephone lines by Telkom does not seem to have been communicated to the branches and regional offices.

Additionally, the contact number displayed on the ANC’s website for the Western Cape ANC Youth League goes through to a taxi company in Seapoint, Cape Town. This has been the case for over a year despite the company Sea Point Original Radio Taxis (SPORT) having tried to get the ANC to change the listed number.

Investigations showed that the Western Cape ANC office last made a payment to Telkom a year ago, in May 2011, of R2 770. Telkom eventually disconnected their line on January 15 this year.

Speaking on condition of anonymity, frustrated staff at the Western Cape provincial office said the bill escalated to over R100 000 because ANC members were using the lines for personal reasons.

The source said it was frustrating to see senior members allowing friends to make telephone calls.

“We have not been using the phones since the beginning of the year.  A resolution by the Provincial Executive Committee (PEC) was that the phones should stay disconnected as it was evident that there was no control on phone usage and the bills were increasing monthly,” said a senior provincial office bearer.

Another office bearer who requested their name be withheld said the lack of land lines was frustrating.

“We are forced to use our cellular phones when contacting a member and what is worse is that the party does not reimburse the amount used by a member when calling for party businesses,” said the source.

West Cape News has reliably learnt that the national ANC office was alerted to the disconnection of the lines but said the PEC should manage the problem.

However, national ANC spokesperson Keith Khoza said he was “not aware” of the cutting off of phones by Telkom.

When asked how the national office communicates with the provincial office if the telephone was cut off, Khoza said “we make use of our cells (cellular phones).  No ANC member is office bound as they are always out working for the organization.”

He directed all further queries to Western Cape Provincial secretary Songezo Mjongile.

Mjongile did not deny or confirm that Telkom had disconnected their telephone lines. He would only say the provincial office was “busy changing lines”.

“Sorry chief, there is no story here.  You are fishing for something that is not there Comrade. Stop fishing for news that is not there,” said Mjongile.

Asked how the ANC was communicating within itself Mjongile said: “We are working very well and we contact one another via our cellphones.  When our members want to reach us they do so.”

Amanda Mangaliso, 34, who is an ordinary member of the ANC at ward 34, said she has been trying to get hold of the ANC provincial office without success.  She said she applied for a membership card late last year and was being “given the run around” at her branch and had tried calling the provincial head office to find a solution.

“The (telephone) numbers are not working.  I have been attempting to call them (Provincial office) and thought it was engaged but realized later that the number does not exist,” said Mangaliso.

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Posted by on May 14, 2012 in Corruption

 

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Work-for-food scheme to curb poverty – MEC

Unemployed “able-bodied” Atlantis and Nyanga residents are soon to be put to work by the provincial government in a work-for-food scheme it says will go a long way towards alleviating poverty.

The initiative is being spearheaded by MEC for Social Development Albert Fritz and is based on Brazil’s poverty alleviation strategy.

The project would be piloted in Nyanga and Atlantis from the end of next month, Fritz told the Cape Argus.

He said that millions of rands were spent on feeding schemes and soup kitchens, which were abused by strong, able-bodied unemployed men and women,.

Under the new scheme men and women aged between 18 and 35 would be required to work for between three and five hours a day for food vouchers and a “sustainable” stipend.

“Two mass kitchens will be opened in the two pilot areas, where seniors, the disabled and those who cannot work can come for meals,” Fritz said.

“But able-bodied men and women will have to do a few hours of work for a decent plate of food and a daily stipend…This project will restore dignity for many. They will feel they have done something to earn a (meal) and a sustainable stipend, which has yet to be determined by the department.”

Fritz said work would include cleaning in parks and open areas, chopping down trees, and packing wood. There would be filing and other office duties for the less physically able and for young women.

Later, training and skills development workshops would begin, so that some of the unemployed could assist the provincial government in identifying illegal shebeens, help with research and even provide security at stations or on trains, Fritz said.

He said Chrysalis Academy graduates living in Atlantis and Nyanga would be among the first to benefit. “We will, over the next few weeks… draw up a list of unemployed able-bodied persons,” he said.

The idea came from a meeting between Fritz and Brazil’s Deputy Social Welfare Minister, Romulo Paes de Sousa, in Pretoria last month. “This system is working in Peru, Brazil and other parts of South America. I am convinced it will work here.”

Fritz said the system would avert corruption. Last year, his department closed two feeding schemes in Khayelitsha because of maladministration.

“We’ve had cases where the managers of soup kitchens defraud the department. Having mass kitchens at central points will help us manage the funds better. Community groups can collect the meals at the central points or we will even deliver meals.”

 
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Posted by on May 10, 2012 in Corruption

 

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Stadium to be ‘kept busy’ – Whats the real reason Cape Town gets no matches or events?

Cape Town might have missed out on hosting African Cup of Nations matches next year, but the city says there are several high-profile events booked for its stadium instead.

Four events are booked for the stadium in January. These include an international music concert, an international rugby match and two film shoots. Should the city have hosted one of the Afcon matches, these events would have been scrapped.

Sports and Recreation Minister Fikile Mbalula announced the five host cities on Friday.

The City of Cape Town said it first heard of the final outcome through the media.

Stadiums in Joburg, Durban, Mpumulanga, Port Elizabeth and Rustenberg will host matches.

According to reports, Mbalula said it had been decided to keep the match venues close to each other, instead of scattering them across the country.

Mbalula’s announcement ended weeks of uncertainty, with many cities saying they were in the dark about what hosting the event would cost.

Last month, Mbalula said the national government would contribute towards the 32-game tournament, admitting it would cost millions.

Cape Town had been vocal in wanting to host matches, but said it needed clarity on the costs.

It was estimated that costs could balloon to as much as R40 million.

Last month, the city held a press conference outlining its biggest issues.

While not withdrawing its bid offer, the city said it wanted a clear cost layout before signing on.

Another issue was that other “income generating” events would have to be cancelled.

Grant Pascoe, the mayoral committee member for tourism, events and marketing, said the city was “disappointed” at not being selected to host. Yet, the stadium would be “kept busy” over the period it would have hosted Afcon matches, said Pascoe.

Pascoe said the city would have had to hand over control of the stadium to Afcon’s Local Organising Committee in November. This would have extended until February 1.

 
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Posted by on May 7, 2012 in Corruption

 

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ANC used me like a condom – Malema

Johannesburg – Former African National Congress Youth League president Julius Malema has claimed that the ANC used him for its own purposes before throwing him away, it was reported on Thursday.

The eNews channel reported that Malema told a Friends of the Youth League gathering in Mthatha in the Eastern Cape that he had been mistreated by the ANC’s leadership.

“Those of us who have remained loyal… and those of us who have entered treacherous places (by) defending the African National Congress… today we are not wanted,” he said.

“We are used like toilet paper that is flushed in the toilet. We are used like condoms – those who use condoms will know how condoms work, they use them and they throw them (away) somewhere else.”

Meanwhile, the ANC Youth League has distanced itself from the newly formed Friends of the Youth League. The group was created to provide a platform for Malema after his expulsion from the ANC.

The Youth League’s provincial spokesperson Nathi Nomatiti told the City Press newspaper on Wednesday that the Eastern Cape provincial executive committee distanced itself from the group because it knew nothing about it.

Malema was originally suspended for five years for sowing division in the ANC and for bringing the party into disrepute. He was found to have done so by unfavourably comparing the leadership style of President Jacob Zuma to that of former president Thabo Mbeki, and for remarks on bringing about regime change in Botswana.

He unsuccessfully appealed, but was granted leave to present evidence in mitigation to the ANC’s national disciplinary committee.

However, on February 29 it announced that the sanction against him was being increased to expulsion.

He again appealed and it was this appeal that the ANC’s national disciplinary committee of appeal dismissed on April 24

 
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Posted by on May 4, 2012 in Corruption

 

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Battle for subsidies

Community organisations that provide home-based care on behalf of the provincial Department of Health are struggling to run some of their services or pay caregivers because of delayed subsidies, says the Cape Metro Health Forum.

Chairwoman Damaris Kiewiets said the forum had received reports from some of the non-profit organisations (NPOs) that complained they were not receiving their monthly government subsidies on time.

Kiewiets said despite promises by the department to settle the funds owed last month, many had still not been paid.

As well affecting the organisations’ services, the late subsidies meant the NPOs could not pay their community care workers, who assisted medical patients, including those who had tuberculosis, HIV/Aids and mental illness.

But the department said it had not received any official complaints from the NPOs about the non-payment.

Department spokeswoman Faiza Steyn said payments were made to organisations within 30 days of receipt of claims, unless claims were incomplete or there were non-compliance issues.

Steyn said that although the department had not received official complaints, there could be various reasons why advance payments had not been made yet.

These included, among other things, non or late submissions of requests for advanced funding, late submission of assurance certificates, and late closing of previous year’s books.

Steyn said the department funded about 144 organisations in the province with a budget of about R200 million.

Kiewiets insisted that a “substantial number” of NPOs had not received their subsidies after they were told that there was a “technical glitch” with the department system, but many of these organisations were scared to go public for fear of losing their funding.

“We know for a fact that some community care workers had been affected negatively by the non-payments.”

 
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Posted by on May 3, 2012 in Corruption

 

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Consumers upset by petrol price increase

THE petrol price has edged towards R12 a litre after a 28 cents a litre increase which took effect at midnight – leaving some motorists

frustrated.

It is the fifth increase this year, during which the fuel price had already soared beyond a record R11 a litre. In January, petrol cost about R10.31 a litre.

 

ct Rory Romowoothar4506 (25018303)Rory Ramowoothar: ‘People just have to stock it out’.

INLSA

Overall, the cost of a litre of petrol is up R1.61 since the beginning of the year. This means it will now cost R593.50 to fill a 50-litre fuel tank.

Economist Mike Schussler said the latest increase would not only add insult to injury for household budgets, but it would be bad for the country’s economic performance as a whole.

“Consider that consumer spending went up by 7.2 percent over the past year. Couple this with the fact that there was only a 2.4 percent growth in the manufacturing industry and that mining output is the lowest in 51 years. It’s clear consumers have been driving the economy of late,” he said.

Trade union Uasa spokesman Andre Venter said the latest increase followed a spike in the rate of unsecured borrowing by ordinary workers and consumers, to fund primarily consumption.

“And it tells a story of consumers who are nearing the end of what they can afford. Already nearly half of borrowers, many owing 75 cents out of the rand, cannot repay their debts and over 6 000 South Africans apply for debt counselling every month,” he said.

Venter said consumers faced further hardship when Eskom clients have to pay 16.9 percent more for electricity this month, with municipal electricity consumers following on June 1.

ct Lesley Mitchell 4448 (25018302)Lesley Mitchell: “The government can’t make a difference.’

INLSA

“Other administered prices, together with the price of fuel, is gradually lowering the morale of ordinary citizens and it might not be long before they say: ‘Enough is enough. We can take no more’ and then start with public resistance,” he said.

Motorists interviewed yesterday said there was little they could do about the increase other than to put up with it.

“What the hell do you want me to say?” responded Peter Coxall, 69, when asked to comment while filling up his tank at a city garage.

“I’m not angry, because who is there to be angry at? I’ll put up with it,” he said.

Some motorists suggested measures that the government could employ to ease the burden on consumers.

These suggestions included improved public transportation

ct Andrew Russel 4495 (25010750) (25018326)Andrew Russell: ‘Public and business sectors can work together to find a solution’. Picture Courtney Africa

INLSA

 

“The government could work on existing transportation infrastructure instead of flashy new projects.

“This is a good opportunity for the public and business sector to work together to find a solution,” said city resident Andrew Russell

 
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Posted by on May 3, 2012 in Corruption

 

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No relief in sight for crash victims

THE Road Accident Fund (RAF) – funded from levies petrol consumers pay – could end up forking out billions of rand in victim compensation to passengers injured in road crashes.

The RAF would have to do so if Parliament does not meet a Constitutional Court-ordered deadline to amend crucial legislation affecting passengers injured in crashes.

And, while parliamentarians work towards meeting the August 2012 deadline, thousands of injured claimants have been waiting for relief – some for up to six years.

To make matters worse, attorneys in the field say their relief won’t come soon because, even if they are given the go-ahead to proceed with their cases, the waiting period for a trial date at the Western Cape High Court is three years and there are too few judges.

The matter

arose after three people injured in car accidents between May 2005 and June 2007 – Anele Mvumvu, Louise Pedro and Bianca Smith – lodged an application against the RAF in the Western Cape High Court.

Their lawyers argued that a section of the RAF Act that capped claims lodged by certain victims at R25 000 was unconstitutional and invalid.

It was their case that the section differentiated between people who were pedestrians, or passengers of an “innocent” vehicle, who had unlimited claim on compensation, compared with those injured in “offending” vehicles.

In terms of the section, claims by those injured in “offending” vehicles were capped at R25 000.

The high court declared the section inconsistent with the constitution and referred the decision to the Constitutional Court for confirmation.

Last February, that court confirmed the decision but gave Parliament until this August to amend the defects in the legislation.

If Parliament does not meet the deadline, the Constitutional Court’s judgment takes effect, resulting in all claims being uncapped.

Actuarial experts estimated that, if claims were uncapped, it would result in the fund having to fork out between R2 billion and R4bn in compensation.

On August 17 last year, the Draft Road Accident Fund Amendment Bill, 2011, was published.

According to Dr Maria du Toit, deputy director-general in the Department of Transport, the matter was being treated as a priority. She said the bill was in its final stages and was already with state law advisers.

“It is receiving the absolute priority of the executive,” she said. But attorneys are concerned about the effects the delay has had on litigants.

Jacqui Sohn, an attorney at Sohn and Wood Attorneys, said many of the firm’s cases related to the Road Accident Fund related were “in limbo”.

“People have died waiting to have their cases heard,” she said.

Sohn said that, even if the legislation was passed, it could again be disputed, further holding up cases.

There was a three-year wait for a date for civil trials, and cases in which parties applied for trial dates as far back as September 2009 were still waiting for dates to be allocated.

She said the decision to hold pre-trial conferences was a “pro-active initiative by the Bench” and that it had succeeded in opening up courtdates. However, there were still not enough judges, she added.

 
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Posted by on March 14, 2012 in Corruption

 

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