Western Cape residents warned to batten down the hatches for two cold fronts

Cape Town – Western Cape citizens have been asked to batten down the hatches as the cold front that made landfall last night is bringing cold and wet weather to the province – with another expected to hit on Friday morning.

The latest forecast, by the South African Weather Services (SAWS), indicated the cold front would bring rain over the south western parts of the province and the rain was expected to spread along the south coast by Wednesday, clearing by the afternoon.

However, Local Government and Environmental Affairs MEC Anton Bredell warned that the respite would be brief and that the first the cold front is expected to be followed by a second cold front – expected to hit on Friday morning.

“The cold, wet weather is coming and we are urging people to prepare. The bulk of the winter is still lying ahead of us and we need to be prepared to deal with the conditions as best we can.

“According to the SAWS, light snowfall can be expected over the mountainous regions of the south western parts of the province and the wind is expected to reach strong to near gale conditions of about 40 to 60km/h today.

“Our disaster entities and municipal emergency responders are on hand in the event of any emergency. The best number to call in an emergency is the provincial helpline on 112,” said Bredell.

On the plus side, the wetter weather is expected to increase provincial dam levels. On Monday, Mayco member for water and waste Xanthea Limberg reported that dams supplying the Cape Town metro decreased by 0.6% in the last week, from 75% the previous week to 74.4%.

THE latest average dam level for dams in the Western Cape, including the Berg River (pictured), is 53.7%. Picture: File picture

The latest average dam levels, for dams in the Western Cape, is 53.7% – which is 12.5% more than a year ago.

Daily water consumption continues to increase, hitting the 737 million litres per day mark, compared to 730 million litres last week.

Meanwhile, according to the latest Western Cape Department of Water and Sanitation hydrological report, the Bulshoek Dam in the West Coast is the only dam that saw an increase of more than 5%, while the Ernest Robertson Dam on the Gouritz River Catchment has decreased by more than 5%.

Department spokesperson Sputnik Ratau said: “The combined average level of the Breede Valley River Catchment, which covers the areas of Witzenberg, Langeberg, and others, is currently at 58.8% – a better yield as compared to 40% last year.

“The Gouritz River Catchment, in the Little Karoo and Central Karoo, is still below 25% – which continues to be a great concern for the department,” said Ratau.

mwangi.githahu@inl.co.za

Cape Argus

Hawks officer in trouble after nephew, 13, fatally shoots himself

A 43-year-old warrant officer attached to the Limpopo provincial Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (Hawks) has been charged with contravening the Firearms Control Act after his nephew allegedly killed himself using the officer’s firearm.

“This after his 13-year-old nephew allegedly shot himself with his (Hawks officer’s) official firearm at Shayandima in Thohoyandou yesterday afternoon on Monday, 21 June 2021 at about 16:30,” said Limpopo spokesperson for the SAPS Brigadier Motlafela Mojapelo.

Police said the child reportedly accessed his uncle’s firearm, a 9mm Z88 service pistol that the uncle had allegedly left in the room, and shot himself in the head. He died instantly.

Limpopo police commissioner Lieutenant-General Thembi Hadebe has “strongly condemned the incident of keeping a firearm in contravention of existing law” that resulted in the loss of life.

“The firearm may not be kept anywhere except in a locked safe or carried in a holster that is worn by or attached to the person of the holder when it is not in use. The member will then be dealt with accordingly,” said Hadebe.

Police in Limpopo said it was unclear whether the child had accidentally shot himself or taken his own life.

An inquest has been opened and police investigations are under way.

In 2019, the police at Mankweng opened a case of murder after a 12-year-old boy fatally shot his three-year-old brother at Makgeng village, gaMolepo, in the Mankweng district east of Polokwane.

At the time, Mojapelo said: “The suspect managed to access the firearm and somehow shot his younger brother. The mother was allegedly alerted by the gunshot sound and rushed to investigate.

’’She then realised that the worst had happened. The badly injured child was rushed to the local clinic, but was certified dead on arrival. The police were then informed about the incident and immediately commenced with investigations.”

In 2018, an 11-year-old boy turned the gun on himself after shooting his younger sister dead while playing with their father’s firearm in Empangeni.

Police spokesperson Colonel Thembeka Mbhele said the boy was allegedly playing with his father’s licensed firearm when a shot went off and struck his two-year-old sister.

“The victim was taken to hospital for medical attention where she later died. The brother allegedly turned the gun on himself after seeing what had happened to his sister.”

African News Agency (ANA)

Gugulethu clinic closed after man shot dead in attempted robbery

Cape Town – The Gugulethu Clinic was forced to close temporarily after a person was shot dead during an attempted robbery.

The suspects allegedly wanted to rob the company contracted to tar the parking area of the facility.

“It is not yet clear whether the person who died was a client or employed by the contractor.

“Patients who were inside the facility at the time will be assisted and trauma counselling will be provided to both staff and patients.

“Our Department of Health staff have become the targets of hijackings, robbery and abuse.

“This latest shooting is in addition to the incidents that have already taken place at Weltevreden Valley Clinic, Crossroads 1 and Mzamomhle clinic,” said mayoral committee member for health Zahid Badroodien.

He said the clinic has security guards but the facility remained a public place for those in need and should not be subjected to criminal activity.

“It is appalling that the lives of the very people who serve our communities and who have stayed standing amidst a pandemic, are disregarded.

“Nurses and doctors are the fabric that hold us together during this trying time and to put their lives at risk, especially now when we need them most, is condemned in the strongest terms.

“The closure of the clinic is temporary while we allow for the SAPS to conduct its investigation and facility staff to receive trauma debriefing, and again it is our most vulnerable who suffer.”

He said elderly residents, those who are ill, mothers and babies who need medication and life-saving vaccines have been deprived of a facility even if it’s for a short time.

“I call upon all residents to help protect the facility and our staff members who deliver critical services.

“As we enter our third wave it is crucial that residents are able to gain access to health-care services closest to them,” said Badroodien.

Cape Times

Court rules Nigerian government cannot arrest anyone for using Twitter

Cape Town – The Abuja based Ecowas court of justice restrained Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari’s government from prosecuting people for using social media platform Twitter in a landmark court ruling on Tuesday.

The ruling comes after a suit filed against the Nigerian government by the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (Serap) and 176 concerned Nigerians, who argued that the suspension of Twitter in the West African country was unlawful, according to online news publication Vanguard Nigeria.

The court of justice is composed of independent judges appointed by the authority of heads of state of government from Economic Community of West African States (Ecowas) member states.

Serap, a non-profit, non-partisan, legal and advocacy organisation devoted to promoting transparency, accountability and respect for socio-economic rights in Nigeria, said the criminalisation of people using Twitter had escalated the repression of human rights and unlawfully restricted freedom of expression, access to information and media freedom in the country.

It said the Ecowas court ruling meant that no one would be sanctioned, harassed, intimidated, arrested or prosecuted for using Twitter in Nigeria.

The ruling also means that technology companies must immediately restore people’s access to the social media platform as a human right.

VICTORY: The ECOWAS Court of Justice, Abuja in a landmark ruling today has stopped the Buhari administration and its agents from intimidating, sanctioning, arresting or prosecuting anyone for using Twitter in Nigeria, pending the final determination of the suit.

Details shortly.

— SERAP (@SERAPNigeria) June 22, 2021

The court gave the order after hearing arguments from Serap solicitor Femi Falana and government lawyer Maimuna Shiru.

“Any interference with Twitter is viewed as inference with human rights, and that will violate human rights. Therefore, this court has jurisdiction to hear the case.

’’The court also hereby orders that the application be heard expeditiously. The Nigerian government must take immediate steps to implement the order,” the court said, according to a statement issued by Serap on Tuesday.

Falana said the intervention of the Ecowas court of justice was a timely relief for millions of Nigerians using Twitter who had been threatened with prosecution under the provision of the country’s penal code relating to sedition.

African News Agency (ANA)

Tourism hit by Delta Airlines decision to skip Cape Town

Cape Town – Tourism Cape Town has taken a hit with the decision of Delta Airlines to drop its plans to fly to Cape Town for the foreseeable future.

The airline, which is set to make its post-Covid-19 return to South Africa with a non-stop service between Atlanta and Johannesburg beginning on August 1, last week applied to the Department of Transport to change its frequency allocation.

The application only requested Delta flights between Atlanta and Johannesburg, but does not mention any plans for the popular Cape Town route.

Last year when it originally announced is plans to return to South Africa, Delta said it planned to operate a triangle route from Atlanta to Johannesburg and Cape Town.

Wesgro chief executive Tim Harris, however, said the triangular route would be reconsidered at a later stage due to issues with the bilateral air service agreement.

“In addition we expect most of the scheduled carriers to return from October onwards, especially for the South African summer. This includes regular intercontinental carrier services such as British Airways from London Heathrow, Emirates from Dubai and Air France from Paris.”

Finance and Economic Opportunities MEC David Maynier has urged national government to do its part in luring Delta back to Cape Town

“We are actively engaging with Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula, and Tourism Minister Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane. The resumption of the Delta Airlines’ flight to Cape Town is key for economic recovery in the Western Cape.”

At the same time, Delta’s senior vice-president, Joe Esposito, said customers who wanted to travel to Cape Town would have to rely on Delta’s local interline partners which provide convenient connections to Cape Town.

Esposito said: “Delta’s flights to Johannesburg are operated in partnership with Air France, KLM and Virgin Atlantic. Customers can also reach South Africa via Delta’s European hubs in Paris and Amsterdam.”

Earlier in June, another US airline, United Airlines, inaugurated its non-stop daily service between its New York hub at Newark Liberty International Airport and ORTambo International Airport.

Speaking about United’s plans to fly to Cape Town, aviation specialist Linden Birns said: “As things stand, United Airlines intends to resume its seasonal New York (Newark) Cape Town service in October.”

Meanwhile Statistics SA on Monday released April’s tourist accommodation income data which showed that in April this year, all accommodation types recorded large positive year-on-year growth in income from accommodation.

Statistician General Risenga Maluleke said: “The largest year-on-year increases in income from accommodation were reported by caravan parks and camping sites and guest houses and guest farms.”

mwangi.githahu@inl.co.za

Cape Argus

Municipality paid financial consultants R24m, yet obtains disclaimer audit

An Eastern Cape municipality paid its employees R66 million in salaries and R24m to consultants to compile financial statements, yet it obtained a disclaimer of audit opinion.

The Chris Hani District Municipality is one of the 22 municipalities that could not provide evidence for most amounts and disclosures in their financial statements to Auditor-General Tsakani Maluleke in 2019/20.

Briefing the three parliamentary committees on Tuesday, Maluleke said her office relied on third-party information to establish the financial information presented by the municipalities.

She said her office approached the National Treasury to check the equitable share and conditional grants allocation to the 22 municipalities. It found R6.5 billion had gone through the municipalities over the year, but only less than a billion was sitting in bank accounts at the end of the financial year.

“In between, nobody is reporting, nobody is accounting and nobody knows for sure what happened to these monies.”

Maluleke said most of the municipalities that obtained a disclaimer of audit opinion were placed under administration, some for years.

Her presentation showed that 12 municipalities had their audits completed by the April 23 deadline this year. Ten others, including those audited subsequently, finalised them on June 4.

Maluleke said Limpopo did away with disclaimers with great effort and that there were no disclaimers in Gauteng.

Although there was no disclaimer in the Free State, the audits for municipalities there could not be completed on time.

“Either they submitted late or did not. We are not able to say much in that province,” she said.

The municipalities with disclaimers:

Eastern Cape

Chris Hani DistrictMakana Ingquza HillSundays River Valley

KwaZulu-Natal

Amajuba DistrictInkosi LangalibaleleuMzinyathi DistrictNquthu

Mpumalanga

Govan MbekiDipalesengLekwaDr Pixley Ka Isaka Seme

Western Cape

Beaufort West

Northern Cape

Kai !Garib!Kheis

North West

Dr Ruth Segomotsi Mompati DistrictMaquassi HillsRatlouLekwa TeemaneMadibengRamotshere MoiloaMamusa

Maluleke said the Madibeng Municipality in North West had been under administration for two years and had struggled with access to water and concerns about service delivery.

The municipality received R861m in conditional grants and equitable share but it was left with R26m at the end of year. No one could account for the R600m.

She said the Chris Hani District Municipality in the Eastern Cape received R1.43bn in equitable share and a conditional grants allocation but was left with R42m in the bank at the end of the year.

“Essentially, a billion has gone through to the municipality with little info as to what it was spent on.”

Maluleke said the municipality had employees in its finance unit who were paid R66m in salaries. It had hired consultants, at a cost of R24m, to compile financial statements.

“If we add R24m and R66m, you come to R90m for the purpose of compiling financial information, and yet this district municipality has a disclaimer of audit opinion.”

She said the Umzinyathi District Municipality in KwaZulu-Natal was allocated R6.3m from the national government but was left with R2m in the bank at the end of the financial year.

“These are some worrying signals about what is happening in these municipalities in different parts of the country,” Maluleke said.

Political Bureau

Former SAPS colonel pleads guilty to 19 counts of fraud

Cape Town – A former SAPS colonel pleaded guilty at the Kimberley Regional Court today on 19 counts of fraud.

The 57-year-old Avril Christopher Wentzel, who worked as a provincial detective in Kimberley, Northern Cape, had submitted several fraudulent travel claims in 2014, the Hawks said in a statement.

He misused his state benefit of the Middle Management Service (MMS) scheme when he received an undue payment of approximately R47 000.

’’His abuse of the subsistence and travel allowance was uncovered in 2015, which prompted an in-depth probe by the Hawks’ Serious Corruption Investigation team into the fraudulent claims. On completion of the investigation, Wentzel was served with a summons in October 2019 to appear at the Kimberley Regional Court,’’ police said.

After pleading guilty to 19 counts of fraud, he was sentenced to a fine of R30 000 or 12 months’ imprisonment. Furthermore, an additional five years imprisonment, suspended for a period of five years on condition that he is not found guilty of fraud during the period of suspension, was imposed on him.

The national head of the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation, Lieutenant-General Godfrey Lebeya, said: “I would like to commend the investigation team that conducted this investigation without fear, favour or prejudice.

’’It is unfortunate that a senior official who is a commissioned officer that has been bestowed on him by the State President, has succumbed to the temptation of looting the public purse.

’’May the honest serving members appreciate that crime does not pay and that those who betray their oath of office by committing crime will never go unpunished.”

IOL

Durban, the sardines are heading your way this weekend

DURBAN: Keen for some sardine action this weekend? Well, they are expected to arrive in Durban this weekend.

Seasoned Durban angler Jace Govender said there were large shoals passing Scottburgh earlier today and this should continue for the next few days.

“We should see a lot of sardine action on the Durban beachfront this weekend, if the trend continues the way its going now, with the fish moving north very fast,” he said.

Govender said there should be sardine activity along the entire coastline.

He said it looks good for the next two weeks, but he warned that if the country were to experience another cold front, the fish could head back out to sea.

“For now, it’s all looking good for the weekend,” Govender said.

Massive shoals were spotted along the KwaZulu-Natal south coast at the weekend. Nettings took place at Pennington and Sezela. The KZN Sharks Board noted reports of sardine sightings between Sezela and eManzimtoti.

IOL

Municipality paid financial consultants R24m, but ’little info’ on R1bn expenditure

An Eastern Cape municipality paid its employees R66 million in salaries and R24m to consultants to compile financial statements, yet it obtained a disclaimer of audit opinion.

The Chris Hani District Municipality is one of the 22 municipalities that could not provide evidence for most amounts and disclosures in their financial statements to Auditor-General Tsakani Maluleke in 2019/20.

Briefing the three parliamentary committees on Tuesday, Maluleke said her office relied on third-party information to establish the financial information presented by the municipalities.

She said her office approached the National Treasury to check the equitable share and conditional grants allocation to the 22 municipalities. It found R6.5 billion had gone through the municipalities over the year, but only less than a billion was sitting in bank accounts at the end of the financial year.

“In between, nobody is reporting, nobody is accounting and nobody knows for sure what happened to these monies.”

Maluleke said most of the municipalities that obtained a disclaimer of audit opinion were placed under administration, some for years.

Her presentation showed that 12 municipalities had their audits completed by the April 23 deadline this year. Ten others, including those audited subsequently, finalised them on June 4.

Maluleke said Limpopo did away with disclaimers with great effort and that there were no disclaimers in Gauteng.

Although there was no disclaimer in the Free State, the audits for municipalities there could not be completed on time.

“Either they submitted late or did not. We are not able to say much in that province,” she said.

The municipalities with disclaimers:

Eastern Cape

Chris Hani DistrictMakana Ingquza HillSundays River Valley

KwaZulu-Natal

Amajuba DistrictInkosi LangalibaleleuMzinyathi DistrictNquthu

Mpumalanga

Govan MbekiDipalesengLekwaDr Pixley Ka Isaka Seme

Western Cape

Beaufort West

Northern Cape

Kai !Garib!Kheis

North West

Dr Ruth Segomotsi Mompati DistrictMaquassi HillsRatlouLekwa TeemaneMadibengRamotshere MoiloaMamusa

Maluleke said the Madibeng Municipality in North West had been under administration for two years and had struggled with access to water and concerns about service delivery.

The municipality received R861m in conditional grants and equitable share but it was left with R26m at the end of year. No one could account for the R600m.

She said the Chris Hani District Municipality in the Eastern Cape received R1.43bn in equitable share and conditional grants allocation but was left with R42m in the bank at the end of the year.

“Essentially, a billion has gone through to the municipality with little info as what it was spent on.”

Maluleke said the municipality had employees in its finance unit who were paid R66m in salaries. It had hired consultants, at a cost of R24m, to compile financial statements.

“If we add R24m and R66m, you come to R90m for the purpose of compiling financial information, and yet this district municipality has a disclaimer of audit opinion.”

She said the Umzinyathi District Municipality in KwaZulu-Natal was allocated R6.3m from the national government but was left with R2m in the bank at the end of the financial year.

“These are some worrying signals about what is happening in these municipalities in different parts of the country,” Maluleke said.

Political Bureau

Hillcrest man shot and robbed while standing in bank queue

DURBAN – A 25-year-old man was shot by armed robbers while standing in a queue outside a bank on Old Main Road in Hillcrest, KwaZulu-Natal, on Monday.

Provincial police spokesperson Colonel Thembeka Mbele said police received a complaint of a robbery at a business premises at the corner of Inanda and Old Main Road in Hillcrest at 12pm.

She said the security guard alleged that a vehicle with an unknown man arrived and stopped at the entrance of the business premises.

“Two unknown men got out the vehicle, attacked and shot a man who was in the queue,” she said.

Mbele said the man sustained a gunshot wound on his right thigh.

“The suspects took the victim’s bag with an undisclosed amount of cash before fleeing the scene,” she said.

A member of the public, who requested not to be named, said he arrived on the scene moments after the shooting.

“I did not witness the incident; I arrived about a minute later and I am medically trained so I tried to assist. The patient was stable so we waited for the ambulance,” he said.

He said only one shot had been fired and no one else was injured.

He said the 25-year-old victim was allegedly a tavern owner who had come to the bank to deposit money.

ER24 spokesperson Russel Meiring said paramedics arrived on the scene at 11.30am to find local authorities and security services already in attendance.

“A man was found lying outside the entrance of the bank. Medics assessed the man and found he had sustained a gunshot wound to his leg, leaving him in a serious condition.

“The man was treated and provided with pain-relief medication before being transported to a nearby provincial hospital for further care,” he said.

Police confirmed that charges of robbery and attempted murder were opened at Hillcrest police station.

Mbele said the matter is still under investigation.

THE MERCURY