Thursday, April 14, 2011

Water Affairs Minister Fired

Apr 14, 2011


Senior water affairs official fired: minister 

One of the three senior water affairs officials suspended in November last year, has been fired, Water Affairs Minister Edna Molewa said on Thursday. 


Edna Molewa

 "The chief financial officer's [disciplinary case] has... been heard. It is about three weeks since he was released from the department; he is no longer an employee," she told a media briefing at Parliament.

Chief financial officer Onesmus Ayaya was suspended last November, together with the then acting director-general Nobubele Ngele, and the department's IT head Bubele Vakalisa.

The suspensions came only weeks after Molewa took over the portfolio from her predecessor Buyelwa Sonjica, and followed the dismissal a few months before that of the department's then director-general, Pam Yako.

The suspensions and dismissals follow a report by the Auditor-General on over R1 billion in "irregular expenditure" by the department.

Molewa on Thursday said the department had learned Ayaya was submitting an appeal against his dismissal.

It is understood that Yako has followed a similar course, bringing her case before the General Public Service Bargaining Council.

Molewa said Ngele and Vakalisa had yet to face disciplinary charges, but suggested these would take place soon.

Asked whether, given the huge sum of money involved, the department planned to press criminal charges, over and above internal charges, she said this was up to the Special Investigating Unit (SIU), which had recently been called in to help probe the matter.

"Once a person has been found guilty [at an internal disciplinary hearing], and depending on the amount of money that is involved... definitely, there's got to be a mechanism to try and get that money... and bring it back. That's out first port of call.

"We are working in that regard with the SIU; we have recently engaged them. We know that they have methods and... strategies that they always apply in getting either [the money back] and, or, actually criminal charges pressed. So we'll do any of the two, whichever comes out to be the best in any of these cases," she said.

This would be the same Edna Molewa who thinks it takes water 40 minutes to get from "the top part of Eastern Cape down into the ocean";

At least we know you're good at firing people, even if you don't know anything much about water...

Another Million South African's get Grants

Apr 14, 2011 

Another million people will benefit from the social assistance grant programme this year, social development minister Bathabile Dlamini said in the National Assembly on Thursday. 



Delivering her budget vote, she said the social assistance grant was one of the department's biggest poverty alleviation programmes and currently reached 15,3 million people at a cost of R97 billion. 

                                        Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini

In the 2011/12 financial year, the department would spend over R104 bn to reach an extra million people. 

Beneficiaries of the grants were children, the aged and people with disabilities. 

Dlamini said that the age of children who could register for the grant had risen to 17 from January 1. 

A total of 10.3 million children accessed the grant. Some 1.2m people with disabilities benefited and 2.7m pensioners.



Mbombela Stadium a 'cruel reminder'

Apr 14, 2011

Every soccer match played at Mbombela Stadium is a "cruel reminder" of how the municipality robbed its people of their land, Democratic Alliance leader Helen Zille said on Thursday. 



“I am here today because I have heard about the way you were treated by your municipality,” Zille said in a speech prepared for delivery at the Mataffin village, which is part of the Mbombela local municipality in Mpumalanga. 

“I have heard how the Mbombela municipality colluded with a representative of the Matsafeni Trust to steal your land so they could build a World Cup stadium. 

“Your land — which is worth R12-million — was taken away from you and given to the municipality for just R1. 

“The World Cup has come and gone, but you are still here, living in the informal settlement. Where are the houses and jobs you were promised? Where is the clean water, sanitation and electricity?” 

Zille said the stadium was one of the best in the country. 

“We all love soccer and we are so glad that we have these beautiful venues where our teams can play, but every soccer match here is a cruel reminder of what the municipality did to you,” she said. 

“Why should you have to use candles when the stadium is lit with floodlights? Why should you use long-drop toilets when the stadium has flushable toilets?” 

Zille said the money for Mbombela should have been used to improve the lives of the people, but instead it had “gone into the pockets of municipal officials and councillors”. 

The corruption here is so bad that people are killed for speaking out about it,” Zille said. 

“Some people think that corruption is not their problem. They think it is something you must just accept, that it is a way of life. 

“I am here to tell you that corruption is your problem. When politicians are corrupt, they are stealing your money. They are taking away your opportunity for a better life.” 

Zille trumpeted the DA’s record in Cape Town. 

She said more poor people living in DA-governed municipalities had access to more basic services than anywhere else. 

“In Cape Town, households that earn less than R3 000 per month receive a 100% rates rebate, free refuse collection, 10 500 litres of free water and 50kw hours of free electricity per month.” 

South African Police Kill Defenceless Man

Apr 13, 2011 

Protester beaten and shot to death by South African Police

Shocking images as police shown beating defenceless protester to death.

Police beat protesters; one man is singled out for apparently confronting police; the wounded man - shot in the back and chest, shortly before he collapses

Bystanders rush to help the man as he collapses on the street. 

Andries Tatane lies dead in the street after being beaten and shot by SAPS members.

Shocking images of police brutality were broadcast to the nation on television yesterday - they showed an unarmed man being beaten to death by a mob of policemen. 

Pictures of the attack on the 33-year-old man by at least six policemen simultaneously, during a service delivery protest at Setsoto, in Ficksburg, eastern Free State, were shown on all SABC news bulletins last night. 

The visuals show how the armed policemen cornered Andries Tatane, striking him with their batons and kicking him in an assault that lasted for a few minutes. 

Tatane, from Masaleng township, Ficksburg, is seen holding his hand against his chest after the assault. He collapsed about 20 minutes later and died before an ambulance arrived. 

As well as being beaten, he had been shot twice. 

Last night Tatane's brother, Lefu Tatane, told The Times of the "shocking murder" of his elder brother.
"We are very angry. I can't even describe it. He was no danger to the police or anyone. Why did they have to kill him?" said Lefu. 

Tatane was part of a group of about 4000 protesters who marched to the Setsoto municipal offices yesterday morning demanding a response to a memorandum of demands they had sent to the mayor, Mbothoma Maduna, and the municipal manager, Bafana Mthembu. 

The people of Setsoto, like many others across the country, are fed-up with the lack of services in their area and demanded that Maduna and Mthembu speed up their provision. 

According to Lefu, the demonstration had been peaceful until a rock was thrown into the crowd of protesters. 

Police reinforcements were called in and, according to at least two eyewitnesses, chaos erupted when police water cannon were used against the protesters. 

One eyewitness said that Tatane had jumped in front of an elderly man who was being sprayed by the water cannon. 

"The only thing he did was to ask that they not spray the old man and then all hell broke loose. The next minute, police were all over Tatane. He was defenceless." 

According to his brother, Tatane sustained two bullet wounds, one to the chest and one in the back. 

But the police claim that they were trying to arrest Tatane. They said they did not know who shot him. 

Police spokesman Captain Phumelelo Dlamini said: "They were trying to arrest him. While he was being arrested, there was a gun shot so we don't know who shot him but we're going to investigate." 

Police also shot at the crowd, which, after witnessing the beating of Tatane, turned violent. 

A number of witnesses said it was the police that shot Tatane. 

Last night, Lefu said his brother's wife was too distraught to talk and the family was taking her for medical treatment. Tatane is also survived by a three-year-old child. 

Maduna, the mayor of Setsoto, said: "It's really unfortunate to have a person dying as a result [of the protests]. We regret it . it was not supposed to have happened. We will contribute towards the burial and show that we care." 

Free State Premier Ace Magashule said: "We will sit down and talk and work together [with the people of Setsoto]. We are sending condolences to the family. 

Lefu said officials of the Independant Complaints Directorate visited the family home at about 3pm yesterday and would return today. 

The ANC last night condemned the killing and called on Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa to set up a commission of inquiry 
ANC spokesman Jackson Mthembu said the police responsible for the killing should be brought to book.
"We are shocked and disgusted by what we saw on television. No reason can be raised about the behaviour of the police.
"Our people have a constitutional right to protest and the action by the police is reminiscent of the apartheid police force," Mthembu said. 

David Bruce, senior a researcher at The Centre for the Study of Violence and Reconciliation, said that there had been an increase in the number of people killed by the police in recent years.
The peak year was 2008-2009. 

ICD statistics show a steady increase in complaints of serious non-fatal police violence, assault with intent to commit grievous bodily harm and attempted murder. 

 Another Police Beating


Police Beating