Citizen organisations have called on the government to accept and act on this week’s judgment ordering that Makana’s Council be dissolved and the municipality be put under administration.
This comes as the Eastern Cape government on Thursday confirmed it would consider appealing Judge Igna Stretch’s landmark ruling in the high court in Makhanda on Tuesday, Grocott’s Mail reported.
In the first judgment of its kind in South Africa, the Eastern Cape’s Provincial Executive has been ordered to dissolve Makana Municipality and appoint an administrator until a new council is elected. The mayor and municipal manager, in their personal capacities, face a punitive cost order, along with various national and provincial government entities.
In a statement to Grocott’s Mail’s on Thursday, Premier Oscar Mabuyane said the application of the judgment would be suspended until the provincial government had decided how to respond to it.
“The judgment has far reaching implications and the Eastern Cape Provincial government is considering appealing the judgment,” Mabuyane said. “Therefore, the application of the judgment, or its effect, will be suspended until such time as a final decision is taken in this regard.”
Hours after Tuesday’s judgment was released, ANC regional chairperson Scara Njadayi told Grocott’s Mail that, in Wednesday’s provincial executive meeting, they would encourage the province and the municipality to appeal the judgment.
Mayor Mzukisi Mpahlwa today told Grocott’s Mail that the council’s mayoral committee, along with senior managers, would meet on Friday to discuss their response. A recommendation to council would follow.
“Council has not yet met and only council can make a decision about our response,” Mpahlwa told Grocott’s Mail. He said a recommendation to councillors would come out of the meeting. Council’s first scheduled meeting is on January 30, but the mayor said it was likely that a special council meeting would be convened earlier.
Meanwhile, the winning applicants – the Unemployed People’s Movement (UPM) and the Grahamstown Residents Association (GRA) – have called on the government to accept the ruling.
The UPM’s Ayanda Kota said in response to Thursday’s news: “It [would be] an indictment on the part of the government to oppose the will of the people. It would indeed be a dark moment for our city and our country.”
Minutes after the judgment was released, an elated Kota had told Grocott’s Mail: “People were united across the spectrum against the political elite of the city… it’s democracy… we hope they will accept that it’s part of the democratic process… they must take their things and go home.”
The GRA likewise called on the government to accept the ruling. In a statement issued last night, GRA chairperson Philip Machanick said: “I see reports that ANC structures are calling for the judgment to be appealed because of the precedent it sets. I propose a different precedent for the government: start governing. That is all we ask.
“Civil society has refused to accept this as normal; the extremely diverse constituencies who have stood up for positive change attest to that. We are not the opposition: we are the people government is meant to serve. The GRA calls on government to accept this judgment as a wake-up call and stop resisting the inevitable – a comprehensive intervention to turn things around.”
The Judge’s two-page order said Makana had failed to provide services to the community in a sustainable manner, promote a safe and healthy environment, structure and manage its administration, budgeting and planning processes, prioritise the community’s needs and promote its social and economic development.
To read more on the details of the judgment, READ: UPM celebrates Makana judgment
Tshwane speaker must run council smoothly or face expulsion – Maile
Gauteng Cogta MEC Lebogang Maile has issued a stern warning to Tshwane Speaker Katlego Mathebe, threatening to expel her should the special council meeting plunge into chaos.
The Tshwane council is expected to vote on motions against the DA-led administration on Thursday after the ANC and EFF petitioned for the removal of the speaker, mayor and MMCs.
This is the third time in two months the City will debate the motions. The first motion, which saw the removal of DA mayor Stevens Mokgalapa, was suspended by the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria after the DA challenged its validity.
The first day of school was off to a dramatic start at Khutlo-Tharo Secondary School in Sebokeng on Wednesday as a fire gutted the school’s administration block.
According to Emfuleni Local Municipality fire and rescue spokesperson Stanley Gaba, firefighters are on the scene battling the blaze.
Gaba says a call from a community member alerting emergency services to the fire was received at around 03:00.
“There is a school, Khutlo-Tharo Secondary, that has caught fire in the admin block. I am rushing to the scene to get details. We will issue a statement on further information later,” Gaba said.
Simon Nwamba, a journalist at the scene, told News24 that only the administration block was affected. Nwamba says community members gathered at the scene, witnessing the fire rage.
While it’s unclear what sparked the blaze, concerned parents and community members have questioned whether they may be dealing with a case of arson.
Residents who spoke News24 said a lack of water prevented them from trying to put out the flames.
Puleng Mofokeng who lives near the school said she was woken by people screaming for help.
“They were shouting that the school was burning. I quickly called my other neighbours.
“We rushed to the school and were greeted by smoke coming from one of the offices, where the fire started.”
Mofokeng said they broke a window in an attempt to gain entry and extinguish the fire, but there was no water in the school.
“All taps were dry because we have been without water in our area since last week. We called Emfuleni Emergency Services and they didn’t answer our calls.
“The fire was spreading to other offices and we had to stand back helplessly until we decided to call the police who responded swiftly,” she said.
Mofokeng said fire fighters in three fire engines from Emfuleni responded two hours later around 04:00 when the fire had grown bigger.
Emfuleni spokesperson Stanley Gaba confirmed that there is a lack of water supply in parts of Sebokeng and Evaton including at Khutlo-Tharo Secondary School. Gaba said the problem was caused by lack of electricity supply at a local reservoir over the weekend. He said power has since been fully restored and the reservoir is currently pumping water. Gaba promised that residents should expect water from their taps, later in the afternoon or evening.
Gauteng Education MEC Panyaza Lesufi, along with Premier David Makhura, are expected to hand over the newly-renovated Noordgesig Primary School in Diepkloof on Wednesday morning.
@Lesufi Khutlo Tharo Secondary School in Zone 3 Sebokeng up in flames, fire department struggling to stop the fire since around 2am
— Lerato Sabisa (@Lerato_Sabisa) January 15, 2020
Khutlo tharo secondary school in sedibeng is on fire?????????? pic.twitter.com/u7lctpbnYM
— Tony Thobela (@tthobela57) January 15, 2020
An opulent luxury home in Houghton Ridge, Johannesburg, known as Gatsby, is back on the market – this time for a reduced R92m – and to sweeten the deal, the sellers are throwing in a Rolls-Royce.
Chas Everitt Luxury Portfolio CEO Rory O’Hagan told News24 that they had to think out of the box to entice buyers.
“In this day and age, you need to be creative with your marketing. We thought it’s a different angle to offer a car with the house. We thought let’s do something that’s not standard in a house that is a luxury property,” he told News24.
O’Hagan said that despite having to drop the initial asking price of R120m due to South Africa’s strained economy and housing market, there was still a demand for luxury new builds as well as fully-renovated or restored trophy properties.
The 2 000-square-metre mansion was designed and built by the Pellerade Design Group and boasts eight glamorous ensuite bedrooms with luxurious bespoke furnishings, an array of sumptuous reception rooms decorated with an international collection of rare artworks, a private night club, a wellness spa, a library, a gymnasium, conference facilities, a heated indoor swimming pool and an outdoor training pool.
And it’s built on four levels to optimise the beautiful panoramic views of northern Johannesburg.
In addition to the beautiful interior design, the house features state-of-the art security and surveillance systems as well as full home automation.
“The electronics in this home are at a level that you don’t normally see in most homes in this country. From an app, you can basically run your home from anywhere in the world,” said O’Hagan.
The house took eight years to complete and six of those were dedicated to the earthworks.
“To give you an idea, you have a hill. You can imagine the first terrace is going up eight metres. You have to fill it with soil, then you have another terrace and another,” Pellerade Design Group CEO Stephen Pellerade explained.
“We hadn’t realised how much soil you needed to fill the terraces. It was just immeasurable, even financially for wealthy people.”
He said they were lucky because at the time, they were able to strike a deal with the City of Johannesburg when the Gautrain company removed soil from Rosebank.
“So, we had the soil brought here by truck, probably a few hundred trucks a day, depositing the soil for the period of 18 months.”
He estimated that roughly 30 000 tonnes of soil were needed to complete the terraces.
The Gatsby will be sold, fully furnished with handpicked antiques and period pieces from around the world, and other specially-commissioned modern pieces.
Angry residents outside the Wynberg Magistrate’s Court on Monday expressed their disgust that the suspect in the Michaela Williams case is a convicted rapist who was released on parole in 2018.
“My question to [the] government is, why is a convicted rapist of an eight-year-old child being let out onto the streets? Not even the community of Pelican Park knew that he was a rapist,” said founder and CEO of the Western Cape Missing Persons Unit Candice van der Rheede.
Michaela was reported missing by her mother last Wednesday night. An investigation led the police to the 48-year-old suspect who lives two doors from the Williams family. He admitted to the crime and directed the police to where he had buried her body.
‘Stabbed in the heart with scissors’
The suspect was released on parole in 2018 after serving jail time for the attempted murder and attempted rape of an eight-year-old in 2005. The mother of the victim attended the trial in support of the Williams family.
“It’s like an old wound … it doesn’t heal, every time the pain [comes] back and I’m asking myself who is going to be his next victim, who is he going to hurt, when is it going to stop?”
Her child was stabbed in the heart with scissors during the attack but survived.
“I hope this time he will be put away for good and for life, that he won’t get the chance to put his hands on another innocent child,” she said.
The case will be heard again on April 14.
Social media was buzzing on Monday after a video surfaced of a group of Gauteng residents fighting in the street.
The incident happened on Sunday and while a charge of assault was initially laid, the parties have since decided to bury the “hatchet” outside of court.
Video footage of the brawl shows two men fighting with each other. One then pulls out a sword, attempting to stab the other.
“He’s got a knife and he is stabbing him,” a woman shouts.
The two men get into a fistfight before roughing it out on the ground, after taking a tumble.
There are plenty of shouting and swearing and several people try to break up the fight but to no avail. At least two of the men in the video aren’t wearing any shirts.
Later in the clip, a woman asked someone to hold her dog. She then enters the fray, chasing away a passerby who tried to break up the altercation.
Security company Special Ops 99, whose vehicle was captured on the scene, told News24 a member of their staff had tried to intervene after driving past the fight.
“The individual in the marked car was a salesperson of Special Ops who was driving past on the way to the shops and saw the incident,” management said in a short statement.
“He is not a reaction officer and tried his best to break up the fight.”
As the fight draws to a close, one man asks someone on the scene to get his gun.
At this point, it is still unclear what the fight was about. Neither Special Ops nor SAPS were able to confirm whether the incident happened in Kyalami Estate, as was widely reported on social media.
Police spokesperson Captain Mavela Masondo, however, confirmed that charges were filed.
“A charge of assault with the intent of causing grievous bodily harm was laid at the Midrand police station,” Masondo said.
The charges were later dropped after the parties decided to resolve the issue outside of court.
The IFP and DA have called for the Kwazulu-Natal Health MEC to improve safety and security measures at public health facilities in the province following a shooting at a Durban hospital on Friday.
“The IFP in KZN is deeply concerned with the poor safety and security measures at KZN public hospitals and calls on the KZN MEC of Health, Nomagugu Simelane-Zulu to come up with a well detailed plan armed with [a] clear timeframe and tangible solutions on how and when she intends to improve safety in provincial hospitals,” IFP KZN Provincial Spokesperson on Health Ncamisile Nkwanyana said in a statement on Sunday.
This comes after two gunmen shot a patient ‘execution style’ in front of staff and patients at Clairwood Hospital in Mobeni at around 18:30 on Friday, according to the health department on Saturday.
The 47-year-old patient in the male surgical ward had been receiving treatment for previous gunshot wounds, News24 reported.
He had been transferred from King Edward VIII Hospital to Clairwood Hospital on December 23 for wound care and rehabilitation.
The shooters are still on the run.
Simelane-Zulu admitted in a statement on Saturday that the safety system in place was not as effective as she would like it to be.
“Notwithstanding the fact that these people were armed, and that they also threatened our security guards, we should have had a system in place that ought to have made it difficult for them to get away. We will have to urgently re-look at our security protocols and make improvements as far as possible, within our limited financial means,” she said.
She said they would urgently have to look at their security protocols and make improvements within their limited financial means.
The IFP was concerned at the frequency of criminals “doing as they please” in government hospitals.
“This incident is a clear indication that the KZN Department of Health has failed dismally to take the issue of hospital safety seriously.
“Hospitals and clinics are supposed to be safe environments for patients, health care workers as well as the general public. Far too often we hear of staff as well as patients being assaulted, killed and robbed in hospitals,” Nkwanyana said.
The IFP added that it has raised concerns about lack of safety in hospitals “many times in the past” which allegedly fell on deaf ears.
The political party further highlighted government’s promise to put police in all public health care facilities, which is yet to materialise, according to Nkwanyana.
“If police were dispatched as soon as the plan was made public, this incident, a loss of life would have been avoided.
“It is, therefore, high time for the KZN Department of Health to address these issues in the short, medium and long term. As a political head of the Department it is the duty of the MEC to come up with tangible solutions to address this growing crisis in KZN public health care facilities,” Nkwnayana said.
The Democratic Alliance in KZN expressed similar sentiments, saying the shooting followed recent violent attacks at other health facilities in the province, including KwaMsane, Nkonjeni and RK Khan Hospital.
“The DA will be calling on MEC Simelane-Zulu to fast-track a major overhaul of hospital and clinic current security measures, including improved training of security personnel, better visitor entry and security checks, CCTV cameras and evacuation procedures.
“There must also be a closer relationship between such facilities and their local police stations,” DA KZN Spokesperson on Health, Rishigen Viranna said.
Captain Nqobile Gwala told News24 on Sunday that “the matter is still under investigation”.
Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed Ali has asked President Cyril Ramaphosa to intervene in the dispute between Ethiopia and Egypt about the building of the Great Ethiopian Renaissance Dam.
The 2019 Nobel Peace recipient said at a press conference at the end of his three-day official visit to South Africa on Sunday that Ethiopia believed in a win-win approach to resolve this issue.
“I made this request to President Ramaphosa as he is a good friend of both Ethiopia and Egypt, and as an incoming chair of the African Union [for 2020] he can make this discussion with both parties to resolve the issue peacefully,” he said.
Abiy stressed that peace was necessary for economic development.
Ramaphosa, who extended a warm welcome to Abiy and who invited him to attend the ANC’s 108th birthday celebrations in Kimberley on Saturday, said he was willing to help craft an agreement.
“I had a discussion with [Egyptian] President [Abdel Fattah] el-Sisi and he said they are willing to have discussions with Ethiopia, and the same has been pronounced by Prime Minister Abiy, and I believe a solution is possible,” he said.
Efforts in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa this week to resolve the long-running dispute between Ethiopia, Egypt and Sudan over the giant hydropower dam on the Nile, resulted in a deadlock. But a deadline of Wednesday (January 15) has been agreed with Washington, which has acted as a mediator in the dispute.
Disagreement about the filling and the operation of the $4 billion dam has sparked a diplomatic crisis between Egypt and Ethiopia, as Cairo fears that the dam would deprive its more than 100 million population of the Nile waters, on which they are dependent.
Ramaphosa and Abiy also spoke about the AU’s 2020 theme of silencing the guns.
South Africa’s chairing of the AU coincides with its third non-permanent two-year membership of the United Nations Security Council.
Ramaphosa said a peaceful and stable environment was important for development and he congratulated Abiy on the peace he brokered between his country and neighbouring Eritrea after his appointment in 2018.
A diplomat told News24 that escalating troubles in the continent meant the deadline of silencing the guns in Africa in 2020 would not be met, but would have to be deferred by a decade.
Abiy, in turn, invited South African businesses to invest in his country, which has in recent years had an economic growth rate of more than 7%.
Just like Ethiopians had come to South Africa and invest here, Abiy said South Africans should “come and invest in Ethiopia, and come and make it their home as well”.
He said his administration wanted to open his country – which was previously closed to foreign investors – for business.
“We look to the private sector to come and help create prosperity for the mutual benefit for both sides.”
He referred specifically to telecoms, energy and logistics as industries where South Africans have expertise.
In response to a question about whether Ethiopia was ready, from a logistics and peace and security view, to hold elections, Abiy admitted there were problems, but said: “we need to go to elections to confront [those] challenges”.
Abiy was also asked to comment on United States President Donald Trump’s remarks that he should have shared the Nobel Prize with Abiy because he helped create peace in the region.
Abiy said he wasn’t aware of the criteria the Nobel Committee used to select recipients for the prize.
“I’m not working for the prize,” he said, but added, “if President Trump [has complaints] it must go to Oslo and not Ethiopia”.
Abiy later rushed to Johannesburg where he addressed a crowd of a few hundred Ethiopian expatriates in the Wanderers Stadium and urged them to work for peace in their home country in the same way Nelson Mandela worked for peace in South Africa.