16 nabbed for taxi violence in KZN

KwaZulu-Natal police have been commended for the arrest of 16 people in connection with taxi violence and the recovery of a number of firearms.

A group of heavily armed men travelling in a Toyota Quantum minibus taxi stormed the taxi rank in Brook Street, Durban on Friday.

Police say they fired multiple gunshots and sped off. Three people were seriously injured and taken to hospital for medical attention and a 56-year-old later passed away.

The suspects fled towards Pinetown when a police officer from the Pinetown Task Team spotted the vehicle and gave chase. The suspects opened fire at him and he retaliated.

No injuries were sustained and the suspects abandoned their vehicle and ran into a building in Pinetown.

The National Intervention Unit was called in which led to the arrest of the 16 suspects and the recovery of 17 firearms which include nine rifles, a shotgun and seven pistols.

The firearms will be subjected to ballistic testing to ascertain if they were used in any other pending cases.

The KwaZulu-Natal Acting Provincial Commissioner, Major General Bheki Langa commended the swift response by police.

“In this province, we will not tolerate any violence especially relating to taxi industry as members of the community are normally caught during the exchange of gunfire. We work diligently to ensure that the perpetrators are brought to book,” he said.

The suspects, who are due to appear in court soon, will be charged with murder and attempted murder, including the shooting of a police officer in Pinetown as well as for illegal possession of firearms.

Ministers call for negotiated settlement to end bus strike

The Ministers of Transport and Labour have called on parties involved in the ongoing bus strike to come to a negotiated settlement.

Transport Minister Dr Blade Nzimande and Labour Minister Mildred Oliphant met with representatives of organised labour and employers in the bus industry on Thursday, where they were briefed by both parties on their bargaining positions aimed at ending the protracted bus strike.

The Ministers noted progress in negotiations and appreciated the fact that both parties are determined to resolve the impasse swiftly, with concessions already made from the original positions held by both parties prior to the negotiations.

Both Ministers called on all parties involved to find a negotiated settlement under the allowable rules and regulations in the interest of all South Africans.

Now in its second week, the bus strike has left thousands of commuters stranded, with many being forced to use other modes of more expensive transport.

In their joint statement, the Ministers said while they are not party to the negotiations, the only reasonable outcome that they expect from the negotiations is the immediate resumption of bus operations, while labour and employers are finding a permanent solution to the impasse.

“Both Ministers will continue to observe the negotiations with keen interest and wished all involved best regards in concluding the negotiations.”

Bus drivers involved in the strike are demanding a 9.5% salary increase in the first year and 9% in the second year. They initially demanded 12%, with their employers offering 7%.

The South African Transport Workers and Allied Workers Union (Satawu) announced last week that they will be intensifying strike action this week. Last week, negotiations deadlocked with unions refusing to back down from their demands.

Introspection needed to create non-racial society

Deputy President David Mabuza says Solomon Mahlangu’s commemoration should serve as a launch pad for a society-wide reflection on the steps the country must take to build a non-racial society.

“Such [discussions are] particularly important in the context of the centenary of President Nelson Mandela’s birthday,” Deputy President Mabuza said on Friday.

He was speaking at the 39th commemoration event of the late Solomon Mahlangu held at Kgosi Mampuru Correctional Services in Tshwane.

Deputy President Mabuza said the occasion serves to affirm the commitment to the progressive humanist values of ubuntu, social justice, human rights, non-racialism and gender equality, which Mahlangu and his comrades in arms came to internalise at an early stage of their formative years.

“Today’s commemoration is testimony to our consciousness that government has a moral responsibility to provide physical and material security to the citizenry and an affirmation that it shall never again appropriate to itself the right to determine who will live and who shall die.

“It is also our firm resolve that never again will a civil servant have to earn their keep by putting the lives of their fellow citizens to a cruel and violent end,” he said.

Solomon Kalushi Mahlangu was executed at the Pretoria Central Prison, now known as Kgosi Mampuru, on 6 April 1979.

The day of execution was deliberately chosen to coincide with 327th anniversary of Jan van Riebeck’s arrival at the Cape in 1652.

In an apparent defiance of Prime Minister PW Botha, Mahlangu left an inspirational message for all South Africans. Before he was executed, he left this message: “Tell my people that I love them. They must continue the struggle. My blood will nourish the tree that will bear the fruits of freedom”.

Fearing that his death and burial would result in mass mobilisation and uprisings by the community of Mamelodi from where Mahlangu hailed, the then apartheid government secretly buried his body at Atteridgeville cemetery, west of Pretoria.

Deputy President Mabuza said Mahlangu’s death was not in vain and that people should jealously guard the democracy of today.

“As part of the necessary process of recording our history, the Department of Correctional Services must endeavour properly to record everything relating to all prisoners of conscience, who perished in apartheid jails either by torture or execution and make these available to our institutions of learning, the media and the general public,” he said.

Speaking on behalf of the Mahlangu family, Lucas Mahlangu said Solomon’s blood should unite the country.

“By uniting, we will be helping our government to provide for us,” he said.

Upon arrival at Kgosi Mampuru, Deputy President Mabuza, accompanied by some Cabinet Ministers, family members of those who were executed at the Pretoria Central Prison and members of the media, toured the facility where political prisoners were executed.

During the tour, the Deputy President was showed the gallows where executions were carried out.

Former President Zuma to face prosecution

 

National Director of Public Prosecutions Shaun Abrahams has announced the decision by the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) to prosecute former President Jacob Zuma on charges of racketeering, corruption, money laundering and fraud.

“After considering the matter, I am of the view that there are reasonable prospects of a successful prosecution of Zuma on the charges listed in the indictment served to him prior to the termination of the matter by former acting national director of prosecutions Mokotedi Mpshe,” Abrahams said.

Addressing a media briefing on Friday, he said that a trial court would be the most appropriate forum for these charges to be ventilated and to be decided upon.

“Justice must not only be done but must also be seen to be done. I am mindful that everyone is equal before the law and enjoys the rights to equal protection and benefit of the law,” he said.

According to Abrahams, the former President was indicted on 28 December 2007 on charges of racketeering, corruption, money laundering and fraud. On 10 February 2009 former President Zuma’s lawyers submitted written representation to Mpshe.

“On 6 April 2009 Mpshe announced his decision to terminate the prosecution of Zuma and the very next day the NPA withdrew the charges against Zuma in the Durban High Court.

“Mpshe’s decision of 6 April 2009 was taken on review. On 13 October 2017, the Supreme Court of Appeal declared Mpshe’s decision to terminate the prosecution of Zuma as irrational,” Abrahams said.

Earlier this year, former President Zuma submitted representations to Abrahams in respect of the indictment.

Following the submission of his representation, Abrahams appointed an experienced prosecution team to peruse the evidence and advise him on former President Zuma’s representations.

“Zuma’s representations, broadly speaking, largely relate to allegations of a prosecution characterised by prosecutorial manipulation in propriety, fair trial abuses, prosecutorial misconduct, deliberate leaking of information to the media and irrational decisions made by various national directors and/or acting national directors of public prosecutions along with inexplicable delays for approximately 15 years in bringing his matter to trial,” he said.

Abrahams said the former President disputes all allegations against him.

“The Director of Public Prosecutions in KwaZulu-Natal will facilitate the necessary processes for Zuma and his co-accused to appear in court,” he said.

Additionally, Abrahams has instructed the state attorney to brief senior counsel to oppose an application for a permanent stay of the prosecution of former President Zuma which was recently filed in the Cape High Court by a non-profit organisation. – SAnews.gov.za

Marchers say no to false prophets

A group of people who marched againts false prophets on Wednesday in Johannesburg said that churches were collapsing under the watch of the commission.
 
Zodidi Mhlana/ InsightAfrica
The Cultural, Religious and Linguistic Communities (CRL Rights Commission) has been urged to investigate and to take serious actions against controversial pastors and churches who have been accused of sexually abusing women and enriching themselves at the expense of their members.
A group of people who marched against false prophets on Wednesday in Johannesburg said that churches were collapsing under the watch of the commission.
“Women are being victimised sexually and economically. Churches are collapsing under your watch. Congregants are being made to pay for prayers. Investigate what’s happening in churches and use legal avenues against the churches,” legal representative for the marchers, Elliot Bhutane said on Wednesday.
The group delivered its memorandum of action to the Head of the Rights Commission Thoko MKhwanazi- Xaluva.
March organiser, Solomon Izang said women and young girls were suffering in churches because of widespread abuse.
“Some women are being abused physically, raped while no actions are taken. We need to take actions against church leaders abusing their positions. Amongst us today are people who have been victims in some churches. They should all be scrutinised. False pastors use their positions to abuse women who are not being heard. For too long, people have been manipulated to pay money for prayers. Some of the churches are more like cults,” Izang said.
Mkhwanazi Xaluva acknowledges that controversial issues taking place in some of the country’s churches should be dealt with.
“Women are being targeted in some churches deliberately. Something sinister is happening in churches. We need to create laws that will deal with these issues. Religions cannot be abused. People’s lives should not be put in danger,” Mkhwanazi -Xaluva said.
Controversial prophet Sheperd Bushiri of Enlightened Christian Gathering church based in Pretoria went to Pretoria high court this week to prevent the march from going ahead.
On Tuesday, the court ruled that the march should go ahead, but marchers were told not to defame Bushiri.
Bushuri was in the news recently when it emerged that tickets for a gala dinner his church had organised ranged between R1000 to R25 000.
Last year, the CRL Rights Commission released a report which found that pastors had turned their churches into a money-making scheme.  The Commission recommended that churches should be regulated in order to address these problems.
Chuch members who claimed to have suffered at the hands of some of the pastors were also part of the march.

SAPS beefs up measures this festive season

The South African Police Service (SAPS) has beefed up their pro-active measures by introducing the Safer Season Campaign.

The campaign has seen highly visible, multi-disciplinary law enforcement teams deployed to conduct regular vehicle and foot patrols, roadblocks, cordon and search operations and the tracing of wanted suspects.

However, despite these measures, the SAPS have advised communities to follow these safety tips and assist law enforcement agencies.

“The fight against crime is everyone’s responsibility and we appeal to the community to join hands with us and together we can enjoy a crime free and safer festive season,” the SAPS said on Thursday.

The safety tips to follow are:

Residential places

  • House keys should never be left lying around or kept dangling on the outside of doors. They should be kept in a safe place and out of sight.
  • Owners to park their vehicles in the garages (if they have one). Even if the vehicle is parked in the garage, make sure that the garage doors and vehicle is locked and that the vehicle’s alarm is activated.
  • Take note and be observant of any bushy or vacant area near your house as most of the time, criminals will hide stolen items in the bush and return later to fetch it.
  • Never leave valuable items (laptops, cell phones) lying around before retiring for the night.
  • Do not ignore the irritating bark of the dogs. Housebreakers will rarely enter through the front door of a house so dogs will alert you to exactly where they are. Phone police immediately if there is any suspicious or unusual activity.

Stolen goods

  • Do not buy any stolen goods. If you buy stolen goods, more victims will suffer because buying goods obtained in this manner motivates criminals to repeat their actions. Receiving stolen goods is punishable by law.
  • Reject any goods you suspect could have been stolen and report the matter to the police on Crime Stop 08600 10111.

ATMs

  • Avoid isolated ATMs and using an ATM late at night. Never give your card or pin number to anyone for any reason – not even a bank official, security personnel or a police officer. Never accept help from strangers when using an ATM. If you are distracted by someone while you are attempting to make a transaction, cancel your transaction immediately.
  • Avoid making huge cash withdrawals or carrying a large amount of money as this draws criminals’ attention to you.
  • Those with stockvels or social club groups are urged not to make withdrawals of their savings but rather go inside the bank and request them to help you transfer the beneficiaries’ share to their bank accounts.
  • During the holiday season, shopping centres and the CBD will be buzzing with people doing their Christmas shopping. Make sure that your handbag is close to your body and clutched tightly. Never put the wallet in the back pocket of your jeans/pants.
  • Conceal your Cellphone when you are in a public place and do not get tricked into lending your Cellphone to someone to make a call.
  • Be alert for con-artists and scams. Be careful when buying goods from the internet, always make sure the websites are the real deal as advertised.

 

Children

  • Parents need to know the whereabouts of their children at all times.
  • Do not leave children unattended. Always make sure when they are at the malls or shopping centres, they have adult supervision. Remember that if a child is missing, there is NO waiting period to report that person as missing. Time is of the essence so it should be done immediately.
  • Parents please NEVER let your children swim in the pool/dams or rivers alone and unsupervised.
  • Children who cannot swim should never be allowed in the water. An appeal is made to adults not to enter the water whilst under the influence of alcohol.

Hi-Jacking/Hitchhikers

  • Ensure that your vehicle is always in running condition with good tyres (including a spare wheel) and has enough fuel for your planned trip. Know your destination and the directions to it and be alert if you get lost. Never, ever pick up hitchhikers as most criminals pose as hitchhikers only to hijack, rob and/or even hurt or kill you.
  • Police has warned people, especially women, not to hitchhike as this can be very dangerous. You do not know the person giving you a lift and by accepting a lift you are placing your life in danger.

Road safety

  • Do not speed. Stick to the road speed. Do not text or speak on your cell phone while driving. Stop and rest frequently. Wear safety belts. Make sure your vehicle is roadworthy. Adhere to all the road rules. Do not drink and drive. Do not overload your vehicle. Be an example of good driving. Be alert today and alive tomorrow.

SAPS has warned that those who break the law will face the full might of the judicial system. – SAnews.gov.za

Activists Call On Turkish Gov’t To Release Jailed Babies, Mothers On World Children’s Rights Day

A silent demonstration was held by a group of activists in The Hague, the Parliamentary Capital of the Netherlands, on November 20 World Children’s Rights Day. The protesters called on Turkish government to release over 668 babies and their mothers from Turkish prisons.

Stating that more than 668 children aged between 0-6 year-old have been staying in Turkey’s prisons together with their mothers, the activists have voiced the dire conditions of the imprisoned babies and their tragedies through banners. During the protest, organized by a group of activists named ‘Project 668’, a small cell model was also set up in front of the Assembly Building.

Mehmet Doğanbaş, a volunteer of ‘Project 668’ has stated that in order to create public awareness about at least 668 babies who have to live together with their jailed mothers under difficult circumstances in prisons, they performed the protest. “We gathered in front of the Assembly Building in the Hague as Project 668 volunteers on November 20 World Children’s Rights Day.

“The Dutch public is unaware of the 668 children in Turkish prisons. We participated in this protest to express the situation to the public. Here we placed a model cell in front of the Assembly Building. The Dutch Public Television NOS paid a close attention to the protest and made interviews with the protesters. Without hurting or slandering anyone, we just drawn attention to that the jailed children must be released,” said Doğanbaş.

The silent protest lasted about 4 hours in The Hague and the activists presented flower seeds in packages to the Dutch people during the protest. “We distributed a flower with a note on their boxes in Dutch: ‘Vergeet Me-Niet.’ It means ‘Don’t forget me.’ We distributed about 500 pieces of flowers in this way.”

Meanwhile, a demonstration was also held in Durban, South Africa’s third largest city, for 668 imprisoned babies in Turkey. The events was supported by pantomime artists, demonstration groups representing indigenous people and the people of Durban.

Various activities were held for the babies who were kept in Turkish prisons together with their mothers. Along with the artworks made of sand representing babies, the pantomime artists presented their shows. While the situation of infants was explained by the Africans, the difficulties of reaching a doctor especially in cases of illness were highlighted.

The prison facilities provided to pregnant women and the women having babies under who were imprisoned in contravention of the laws are very limited. Many prisons are struggling to meet the needs of babies. In some prisons, 20 female prisoners with 4 infants have to stay in 8-person ward. Some women lye with a baby on a blanket laid on the concrete floor.

According to accounts of those who released from the prisons, the crib rate for babies is very low, the mother and the baby are lying together in the bunk. They need to entrust their babies to their friends in order to use the bathroom.

Moreover, there are no additional foods such as yogurt, eggs or soup to be given to babies. There are no areas where children would crawl and play. Needs like baby cloth, wet wipes are delayed for weeks and given insufficiently. Infants who have fever or are sick can have up to one day waiting time to go to the hospital. Needs like a walker are not given. There is no additional time for babies in open visit.

Following the controversial coup attempt on July 15, 2016 more than 17,000 women with 668 babies were jailed over their alleged links to the Gülen movement. Women are being accused of giving scholarships, arranging sales, depositing money into private lender Bank Asya, sending their children the schools affiliated with the Gülen movement, subscribing to Zaman and Bugün newspapers, using smart phone messaging application ByLock.

Women who come to hospitals for birth control or birth are clear target for the police officers. However, according to the Turkish Penal Code numbered 5275, “the sentence of imprisonment is left behind / postponed of women who are pregnant or have not passed six months since the conception of birth.” Experts say that according to the law, the arrest of pregnant women and those who have infants smaller than 6 months is not possible at all. The European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) also takes born or unborn child under protection.

More than 17,000 women in Turkey, many with small children, have been jailed in an unprecedented crackdown and subjected to torture and ill-treatment in detention centers and prisons as part of the government’s systematic campaign of intimidation and persecution of critics and opponents, a report titled “Jailing Women In Turkey: Systematic Campaign of Persecution and Fear released in April by SCF has also revealed.

Turkey survived a controversial military coup attempt on July 15, 2016 that killed 249 people. Immediately after the putsch the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) government along with Turkey’s autocratic President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan pinned the blame on the Gülen movement.

Fethullah Gülen, who inspired the movement, strongly denied having any role in the failed coup and called for an international investigation into it, but President Erdoğan — calling the coup attempt “a gift from God” — and the government initiated a widespread purge aimed at cleansing sympathizers of the movement from within state institutions, dehumanizing its popular figures and putting them in custody.

Turkey’s Justice Ministry announced on July 13 that 50,510 people have been arrested and 169,013 have been the subject of legal proceedings on coup charges since the failed coup.

MINISTER LINDIWE ZULU DISTANCES HERSELF FROM NEWSPAPER REPORTS ON RAPE ALLEGATIONS

Minister of Small Business Development, Ms Lindiwe Zulu, is disappointed by newspaper reports that drag her name into a story about a man accused of raping a 25-year-old Free State student. This story has absolutely nothing to do with Minister Zulu.
City Press mentions Minister Zulu as a close friend of the man involved in the alleged rape. It is obvious that the intention of the newspaper was to cast aspersions on the integrity of Minister Zulu generally, as well as on her commitment to women’s rights, in particular.
Minister Zulu’s record as a gender activist and passionate advocate for women’s rights speaks for itself.
Minister Zulu has never, and will never support any kind of abuse against women. In this particular case, Minister Zulu has confidence in the country’s law enforcement agencies and our justice system to handle this matter appropriately. The law must be allowed to take its course.
ENDS
Issued by the Department of Small Business Development