Tuesday, April 5, 2011

R 26.5 m Paid - Termination of Contract

Dispute kills R208m road contract....

Apr 5, 2011 

The R208 million Koster to Lichtenburg road construction contract has been terminated, the North West public works, roads and transport department said on Tuesday. 

                                                               Koster to Lichtenburg

While the department claimed the termination was over a lack of progress on the project, contractor Kaulani Civils claimed it had not been paid.
"We are taking them to court because they did not pay us since January. Our company did a good work, but the department failed to pay," said the company's managing director Anthony Schooling. 

Denying the claim, departmental spokesman Matshube Mfoloe said R110 million -- or about half the contract -- had been paid so far and that payments had been processed within a reasonable period.
He said a payment of R3.9m was made on February 1 and another of R10.6m was made on February 10.
"On December 17 last year we paid them R7.5m and on November 11 we paid them R4.5m. 

"Our action against Kaulani Civils must serve as a strong warning to other companies that continue to take government for a ride by cutting corners and delivering sub-standard quality to the people of the province," said Mfoloe. 

He said the department's patience with Kaulani Civils ran out on March 14, when it was issued with a notice of intention to terminate the contract. 

The company was given 14 days to improve performance on the site or give reasons why the contract should not be terminated, he said. A contract termination letter was issued on March 29. 

"The failure of the company to perform the task is disturbing all daily and frequent users of that road, which we consider extremely important, for the general motoring public, the farming community in the area and other entities doing business in and out of the North West," said Mfoloe. 

The road should have been completed in November, he said.
Mfoloe said the road was 80km long, but that Kaulani Civils was awarded the contract on 50km. It vacated the site on Saturday. 

"We have moved swiftly in ensuring that the critical function of controlling traffic be taken over by different company in the interim in order to avert the likelihood of vehicle collisions, especially at several high accident zone," he said. 

The department would now start the process of appointing a new and "competent" contractor to complete the project. 

“Shopping List” of Police Dockets

Suspect ‘planned to buy dockets’ from police...

April 5 2011

A careless suspected robber, who is part of a gang charged with robbing two casinos in KwaZulu-Natal, made a “shopping list” of police dockets that he “needed to buy” and kept it in his diary. 

This evidence was led by the state in the bail application of Thulani Hlatswayo in the Durban Magistrate’s Court on Monday. 

Hlatswayo, 29, of Joburg, and his five co-accused are charged with two counts of armed robbery and two counts of attempted murder in connection with robberies at Sibaya Casino, north of Durban, and the Black Rock Casino, Newcastle, in August and September last year.
The five - Malvin Ndlovu, Lumkani Dube, Bongani Lukhele, Philani Gumpu and Menzi Shabalala - were denied bail in December last year. 

State advocate Yuri Gangai argued that Hlatswayo had a string of cases against him in Joburg and other areas but these cases had not proceeded. 

“There are several cases in Gauteng that the accused (Hlatswayo) was linked to but these cases could not proceed because the accused failed to appear in court. These charges will be reinstated in Gauteng after the completion of this case.” 

One of the investigating officers, Warrant Officer Mark Delwa, said in an affidavit to oppose bail that Hlatswayo’s diary was found by police after his arrest at his rented room in Joburg. 

“Among his personal belongings I found a diary. The diary contains entries of case numbers where it said ‘I must buy dockets and cassettes’. Two 9mm pistols were also found.” 

Delwa said Hlatswayo had made confessions regarding his roles in the casino robberies and cellphone calls and video footage connect him to the crimes. 

On Monday in support of his bail application, Hlatswayo said he was the breadwinner for his family and admitted a previous conviction for robbery in 2005. 

He said he would not interfere with State witnesses and would not evade his trial.
Gangai said the State had a strong case against Hlatswayo and that he had failed to reveal that he had a previous conviction for escaping from custody. 

“It is apparent that the accused did not learn from his previous brushes with the law. These robberies were committed shortly after he was released from prison for the 2005 robbery conviction.” 

Magistrate Anita Govender said it was not in the interest of justice to release Hlatswayo and denied him bail. The case was adjourned to April 19 when it would be transferred to the regional court. Hlatswayo and his co-accused were remanded. - The Mercury

VIP's Have Many Choices

April 5 2011 

The defence ministry has dismissed criticism of its decision to lease two new luxury jets for “VVIP transport”, saying that the safety of the country’s political principals cannot be measured in rands and cents. 

A ministry spokesman, Ndivhuwo Mabaya, said on Monday that the deal’s reported cost of R808-million for the next five years was accurate, but that it represented the “upper limit” of the contract and included maintenance. 

He told The Cape Times he was “very, very satisfied” that this was the cheapest option available to the department, given the mandate of the air force’s 21 Squadron to provide safe and reliable continental and intercontinental VIP transport. 

Mabaya said that the planes would only provide the so-called VVIP service, which is limited to transporting President Jacob Zuma, Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe and former presidents and deputy presidents. 

“The safety of our principals cannot be equated to any amount of money,” he said, adding that the air force’s existing VIP jets were “very, very old”, expensive to maintain and could no longer be relied on to provide safe travel for the head of state.

“We cannot have the president landing in the DRC in the middle of the night,” he said, referring to an incident in 2009 in which a DC-9 carrying Motlanthe was forced to make an emergency landing at an abandoned air strip in the DRC. 

He said the new planes would reduce the number of domestic flights undertaken by the president’s Boeing BBJ. 

Asked if the presidential spouses would be using the new planes, Mabaya said that “the spouses cannot command a plane, but the president can”. 

Effectively, the presidency could commandeer the VIP service whenever it deemed it necessary or appropriate, such as for transporting cabinet members. 

Defence and Military Veterans Minister Lindiwe Sisulu told Parliament last year that chartering flights for the VIP service had jumped in cost from R3,6m in 2009 to R16,9m in 2010. This increase has been used to justify the latest spending. 

However, the ministry cautioned against comparing charter costs to the R808m forked out for the new jets, saying that demands on 21 Squadron’s services would be even greater going forward. 

Mabaya also noted that the cost of charters cited by the minister did not include the estimated R20m that former president Thabo Mbeki’s chartered flights to Sudan had cost in recent years.
When it was pointed out to him that the new lease would set taxpayers back about R160m a year, Mabaya said it was still the cheapest option available. 

“Anyone who knows anything about aircraft will tell you that leasing is the cheaper option,” he said.
Government VIPs will now have a choice between two Citation IIs, two Falcon 50s, one Falcon 900, the new planes and the Boeing to choose from for their air travel. 


                                                                      Falcon 50
                                                                       Falcon 900

Asked if savings were being maximised through the use of commercial flights where possible, Mabaya said: “The president cannot be expected to sit on a commercial SAA flight reading confidential documents.” Besides, the size of the entourage that accompanied the president could not be accommodated on commercial SAA flights. 

The new planes will be fitted with two boardrooms, satellite communications and a double bedroom with bathroom. 

Ndebele boasts of jobs created by tolls

Mar 29 2011

 Ndebele boasts of jobs created by tolls roads....

Although the tender for the Open Road Tolling (ORT) system project was awarded to a foreign company.........

more than 90% of staff on the project will be South African, Transport Minister Sibusiso Ndebele said on Tuesday.

                                                 Transport Minister Sibusiso Ndebele 

"It can be reported that 99% of ETC JV staff for the operations of the system will be South Africans. Furthermore, during the construction of the civil works, 20 000 direct jobs were created," said Ndebele.

"This project has therefore contributed to job creation and will continue to do so," he said.

He was responding to a question in the National Assembly by Anton Alberts of the Freedom Front Plus.
                                                                      Anton Alberts

Alberts asked the minister why the tender for the management of the collection of toll fees for the ORT was awarded to a consortium of which a foreign company was the majority shareholder and not to a local company.

ETC JV, a joint venture comprising one local and two foreign companies, was granted a R6.22bn tender to implement and run the Gauteng road tolling system.

Swedish and Austrian branches of Kapsch TrafficCom, an international supplier of intelligent transportation systems, hold stakes of 40% and 25% of ETC JV respectively. TMT Services & Supplies, a South African company, holds 35%.

Ndebele said the tender was awarded to ETC JV because it had submitted a tender offer which was more than R2bn cheaper than the next lowest tender offer, and because the equipment and software to be used in the project was not locally available.

He said the SA National Roads Agency Limited also required foreign companies of ETC JV to put up guarantees in excess of R1bn in support of their ability to perform their obligations.

This amount was "far in excess" of that which could be offered by any South African company in this sector, he said.

To ensure that South Africans benefited from the project, the contract required the contractor to continuously transfer skills and ownership and employ South Africans in all positions throughout the lifespan of the project.

Ndebele said these requirements would be monitored and the contractor would receive stiff penalties for failing to adhere to the requirements and commitments made.

"The contract has very specific measures and penalties to ensure that the contractor fulfil its contractual obligations. This project has contributed to job creation and will continue to do so."

He said the tender process was in line with South Africa's commitment to attract investment and skills and that local companies were not excluded from the tender process.

The tender was awarded through a public tender process taking into account the available skills in South Africa.

The objective was to ensure that a quality product would be delivered, said Ndebele. 

Prosecutors under wraps

Police escort in Mdluli case raises spectre of 'Mafia-style crime network'

Apr 4, 2011

The National Prosecuting Authority has placed a second prosecutor under police protection in just two weeks, raising concerns about a "wider network of organised crime" in South Africa. 

This emerged after the appearance yesterday of Colonel Mtunzi-Omhle Mtunzi, 52, in the Boksburg Magistrate's Court, east of Johannesburg, in connection with the murder case against police spy boss Richard Mdluli. 

Mdluli and his co-accused, Colonel Nkosana Ximba and Warrant Officer Samuel Dlomo, a court orderly, appeared in the Boksburg Magistrate's Court last Thursday in connection with the alleged murder of Oupa Ramogibe 12 years ago. 

Mdluli was reportedly in love with Ramogibe's girlfriend, with whom he also has a child.
At the time of the murder Mdluli was head of detectives at the Vosloorus police station, east of Johannesburg. 

Mtunzi, a colonel who also works in the police's crime intelligence unit, was arrested on Friday, is the fourth accused in the Mdluli matter. He faces charges including murder, kidnapping and serious assault. 

NPA spokesman Mthunzi Mhaga yesterday confirmed that prosecutor Kholeka Gcaleka "is under protection". He said the NPA was "not at liberty to discuss the factors taken into account" in making the decision. 

After Mtunzi's appearance yesterday, Gcaleka was escorted from the court by two armed policemen and driven away in a police vehicle. 

She is the second prosecutor in just two weeks to be assigned a police escort, after prosecutor Riegel du Toit was given an armed escort in the fraud trial of Radovan Krejcir. Du Toit's name appears on what is believed to be a hit list found in a raid on Krejcir's home. 

Johan Burger, a senior analyst at the Institute for Security Studies, yesterday told The Times the two most likely scenarios in which Gcaleka would be assigned a police escort were if there were "a typical Mafia-style crime network in which case everyone involved in the trial should be protected", or if Mdluli's influence was "so great that there would be fears about her safety".
Last week The Times reported that Mdluli was also being kept in protective custody because of conflict between factions within the police force. All four accused will appear in the Boksburg Magistrate's Court again on Thursday.
Gauteng's new police commissioner, Mzwandile Petros, at a conference on crime in Pretoria yesterday. He succeeds Perumal Naidoo, who has retired, and has vowed to increase police visibility.


Zille hammers ANC over top brass 'hit list'

'Rivalry, murder plot a bitter portrayal of what party has become'

Apr 4, 2011 

Helen Zille characterised the ANC Monday as a party in which politicians are prepared to kill each other for power and lucrative tenders. 

                                                       Helen Zille

She was speaking after reports of a police investigation into a "hit list" that allegedly marks top ruling party leaders for assassination.
On a countrywide campaign before the local government elections, Zille said she was shocked to learn of the deadly turn of events in the ANC in Eastern Cape.
"This rivalry . this murder plot is a bitter portrayal of what the party has become. They are trying to kill each other for positions and tenders," she said.
Zille was referring to the case of two municipal employees who allegedly conspired to kill five ruling party leaders, including ANC provincial secretary Oscar Mabuyane and local government MEC Mlibo Qoboshiyane.
The two employees were arrested and briefly appeared in an Mthatha court last week. They will appear for a bail application tomorrow.
Speaking at a DA rally in the Orient Theatre, East London, yesterday, Zille told the 500-strong cheering crowd that becoming a metro did not guarantee a change for the better for Buffalo City.
"Becoming a metro will not eradicate all these problems. The only way to change things here is to vote for change on May18," she said.
The former Cape Town mayor said that, "for once", the ruling party was telling the truth when Qoboshiyane admitted that the municipality was on the brink of "total collapse".
Zille said the DA was the party that truly reflected the dreams of Nelson Mandela and his concept of a rainbow nation.
On entering the hall, Zille was surrounded by a "blue wave" of supporters. Before she could reach the stage, one supporter threw himself on the ground to kiss the energetic leader's shoes.
Zille was accompanied by DA heavyweights such as Cape Town mayoral candidate Patricia de Lille, and the leader of the opposition in the National Assembly, Athol Trollip.
Decked out in an African dress and blue All Star DA takkies, the Western Cape premier said the forthcoming local government elections would prove to be a "watershed moment" in South African politics.
"It will be the first time voters will have an opportunity to properly compare political parties' track records," she said.
Speaking in a mix of English, Afrikaans and Xhosa, Zille compared the state of affairs in Buffalo City with that of Cape Town.
"They [Cape Town residents] too were tired of corruption and poor service delivery under the ANC. So what did the DA do when we took power? We started by getting the basics right. And that can happen here as well," she said.
Dancing on the stage, Zille said the DA was a government party whereas the ANC was merely a government of lavish parties.
Her dance moves have received a lot of media attention, with many critics questioning her terpsichorean ability.
ANC Youth League president Julius Malema said at the weekend that Zille danced "like a monkey".
Without mentioning a name, Malema asked ANC supporters in Polokwane: "Have you ever seen an ugly woman in a blue dress dancing like a monkey because she is looking for votes?"
But the comments did not deter Zille, who had the crowd on their feet singing and shouting support as she showed off her fancy footwork.
During a business breakfast before the rally Zille defended her "moves" and said she would not "stand stiff" because dancing and singing were part of African culture.
"It is only the local elections so give us a chance ... loan us your vote for the next five years and see what we can do," Zille concluded.


Spy Boss Accused of Waging Witch-Hunt

Mdluli allegedly tried to sabotage murder probe by two seasoned intelligence officers....

Apr 4, 2011 

Arrested police spy boss Lieutenant-General Richard Mdluli allegedly launched a systematic witch-hunt against two of his crime intelligence officers to stop them investigating his suspected role in the murder of his former lover's boyfriend. 



Mdluli, held last week for the murder 12 years ago, allegedly threatened to transfer warrant officers HMagabe and Thomas Rikhotso as uniformed officers to police stations more than 300km from their homes and instituted spurious disciplinary proceedings against them.
This was allegedly after Mdluli and one of his co-accused in the 1999 murder case, Colonel Nkosana Ximba, learned that the two intelligence officers had made inquiries about the dormant murder docket of Oupa Ramogibe after a tip-off.
Mdluli accused the two of leaking information to the Sowetan newspaper in July 2009 about his alleged links to the murder. Mdluli, Vosloorus police station commander when Ramogibe was shot dead in the township in 1999, was appointed head of crime intelligence shortly before the Sowetan article was published. Ramogibe, killed while pointing out to the police the scene of an earlier attempt on his life, was involved with a woman with whom Mdluli was romantically linked.
Magabe and Rikhotso, who together have 40 years of police experience, 20 with crime intelligence, were unavailable for comment yesterday.
According to documents The Times has seen, and South African Police Union general secretary Oscar Skommere, Magabe and Rikhotso have been subjected to surveillance and unauthorised cellphone bugging since February 2009.
They had become so unnerved that they were receiving counselling. Their appeals to national police commissioner Bheki Cele for his protection had fallen on deaf ears.
Police spokesman Colonel Vish Naidoo yesterday refused to confirm or deny the allegations, but said an internal investigation was under way into "various aspects'' of crime intelligence.
A highly placed police officer said the investigation of Mdluli and his unit "would open a whole new can of worms" and included "very serious issues".
"This is a massive investigation. It's going to cast a bad light on this country's intelligence world. It is going to be nasty."
In one of many letters of complaint about the alleged victimisation of Magabe and Rikhotso, the police union's legal representative, Kwena Moabelo, asked Cele in March last year to intervene in the "witch-hunt".
Skommere said the union felt "vindicated" by the arrests of Mdluli and three co-accused, but there had been prolonged injustices against its members for doing their job.
"Our members have all along professed that they did nothing wrong but knew these charges and victimisation were an attempt to frustrate them in doing their jobs," said Skommere.
He said there was ample proof that Mdluli tried to scupper the investigation of the two officers in connection with Ramogibe's murder. This includes his failure to finalise disciplinary proceedings since 2009.
Magabe and Rikhotso were to have had their hearings finalised within 60 days in terms of police discipline regulations but, after 22 months and one hearing that resulted in a "no-verdict" judgment, there is still no resolution.
According to the charge sheet of the disciplinary hearing, issued in March last year, more than a year after the alleged offence, the two officers were to face charges from February 23 to September 2009.
They were accused of misconduct in that they:
  • Failed to adhere to basic police principles by investigating Mdluli and others for "unfounded" allegations relating to the Ramogibe murder without an intelligence docket inquiry;
  • Misled a colleague at the Vosloorus detective unit into believing that their murder investigation was properly authorised;
  • Tried to frame Mdluli and others, and conspired to prevent him being promoted to his current job;
  • Failed to keep a record of information gathered, or to report back to the SAPS; and
  • Failed to respect Mdluli's "basic human rights" and "humiliating" and "discriminating" against him through a Sowetan article on July 10 last year.
In its letter to Cele, the union labelled the allegations "baseless, vexatious and unfounded". At the time, Sapu wrote that: "Mdluli has a history of antagonism against the employees. This can be deduced from his attempts to get rid of them from crime intelligence without a just cause."
The union said Mdluli, in letters dated February 9 2010, went as far as wanting to transfer Magabe and Rikhotso to crime prevention units.
Both warrant officers are stationed on the East Rand. Mdluli reportedly wanted to transfer them to Sebokeng and Magaliesberg.
Mdluli, Ximba and their co-accused, court orderly Samuel Dlomo and Lieutenant-Colonel Mtunzi Omhle Mthembeni Mtunzi, will appear in the Boksburg Magistrate's Court on Thursday on charges of murder, attempted murder, conspiracy to commit murder, intimidation, serious assault, kidnapping and obstructing and/or defeating the ends of justice.
Skommere said the union had asked the state to withdraw the charges against the two officers.


Police find Dismembered Body in Cemetery


Free State police said on Monday that the dismembered body of a 23-year-old man had been found in the Welkom cemetery.

Spokesperson Stephen Thakeng said that the body of Michael van Eck had been found in a shallow grave on Sunday morning.

"The body didn't have a head, a right arm, or left foot and both legs had been amputated at the knees."

Thakeng said Van Eck's car was found abandoned at a Welkom taxi rank on Sunday morning and police phoned his parents to enquire about his whereabouts.

Van Eck's parents told police that he went on a date on Saturday night and should have been at work on Sunday morning.

When police phoned his employer, they confirmed that he had gone on a date with a girl he had met on the social website Facebook the night before, but he did not pitch up for work on Sunday.

His employer said Van Eck and his date would have met at the Welkom cemetery, which prompted police and his family to go to the scene.
"At the entrance we found a shirt which the parents confirmed belonged to their son.

"Our K9 unit was called in and they found the shallow grave."

Thakeng said a 23-year-old man had been taken into custody for questioning after he had claimed he was picking up the abandoned car in the taxi rank for a friend.

"We suspect occult issues, that's why we have deployed our task team to ensure that the perpetrators are brought to book."


Teachers Battling with Simple Maths


Mathematics teachers are battling with simple issues such as calculating percentages, according to a study using the recent Southern and East African Consortium for Monitoring Educational Quality (SACMEQ III) dataset for South Africa.

Stellenbosch University professor of economics, Servaas van den Berg said: "What is evident is that math performance is not very good in the broader context of what one expects from primary level.

"Teachers are really struggling with issues such as calculating percentages.

"More than half of the teachers thought if the height of a fence is raised from 60cm to 75cm, it was a 15% increase," he said.

"It also shows that some math teachers have problems with relatively simple math problems."

The Grade 6 teachers were given similar tests to that of their pupils to gauge their subject knowledge.

"It is particularly worrying that teachers have gaps in their subject knowledge, but it appears that this does not have a huge effect on how children perform," he said.

According to the study, the impact of improved teacher knowledge on pupils' performance was "strikingly small.


"A 100 point increase in average Reading teacher scores leads to a 7.1 point increase in learner reading scores. This is extremely small.

"A similar rise of 100 points in average Maths teacher scores leads to an even smaller 4.7 points increase in student maths scores," it read.

"Better subject knowledge did not necessarily translate into better performance.

"Rather, pupils getting an opportunity to learn or teachers being present in the classroom improved pupil performance.

"It's even more important to have a well-functioning school," Van Den Berg said.

Government's newly introduced annual national assessments for grades 3, 6 and 9 was a step toward improving the situation.

The SACMEQ III survey provides the research community with new data on primary education in South Africa.