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OUTA, Stop C.O.C.T to challenge City of C Town’s proposed drought levy
30 December 2017, 3:30 PM

The City of Cape Town has defended its decision to start the process of public participation on its proposed drought levy in December.

The Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (OUTA)  and a group called Stop C.O.C.T have described the city’s decision to do this in December when people are away on holiday, as ‘underhanded’.

The groups want the city to start the process in January when most people have returned to work. The levy to mitigate the worsening effects of the prolonged drought will come into effect on the 1 February, subject to approval from the Minister of Finance.

“The public participation process, despite it being during the festive period, is also longer than the ordinary public participation period. The public comment period for this drought charge commenced on the 6 December and closes on the 12 January. There is also been extensive communication campaigns in respect to the drought,” says Mayoral Committee Member for Water, Xanthea Limberg.

Outa says it will consult with its lawyers on Tuesday after the City of Cape Town failed to meet Friday’s deadline to respond to its letter of demand to scrap the proposed drought levy.

The levy is based on property value rather than water consumption. The city plans to use the revenue to fund its water augmentation schemes.

Outa Portfolio Manager for Water, Julius Kleynhans, says it is unacceptable to burden residents with harsh taxes.

“A letter of demand puts the mayor on terms to respond within a specific time frame and it seems like the mayor has accepted it as a public participation submission, which is completely different. So, we will be sitting with our legal team on Tuesday and we will probably take the next steps and and hopefully, even see them in court soon.”

2000 initiates graduate in N West
30 December 2017, 2:27 PM

The Culture, Arts and Traditional Affairs (CATA)  Department in the North West says it prides itself with having returned home all the two thousand initiates who took part in this year’s summer initiation period.

The department says only two deaths were recorded during both winter and summer initiation seasons.

Traditional songs by initiates, showcasing the age-old cultural practice, filled the atmosphere at Witpan, outside Lichtenburg, when ninety seven young men graduated from an initiation school. They are part of the 6 000 initiates, who went to traditional school, this year.

Over 4 000 initiates graduated in winter season and only two deaths were reported, while this summer 2 000 initiates graduated and no fatalities were reported. Culture and Traditional Affairs spokesperson, Daddy Seboletswe, attributed their success to visibility and the presence of all the social partners during the initiation programme.

“We are very satisfied with the initiation schools that are run properly at this stage because the Department of CATA and the Department of Health, SAPS, they are 100 per cent behind the initiation which is our culture of course , which we want to preserve without putting anybody in danger,” says spokesperson Daddy Seboletswe.

Fifty-six-year old Joseph Siele is the principal of an initiation school. He began working in the cultural school four years ago and no deaths were reported under his watch. He says his passion in the school is to teach young men about their culture. Seile says working together with the community makes his school to succeed.

“I make sure that I take care of my students by ensuring that they come back healthy and I work together with the parent of the initiates to agree that they go to the cultural school, besides the working relationship with their parents is very satisfying.”

In Ganyesa, over 400 initiates graduated on Thursday, including females and a local traditional leader. Chairperson of the Traditional School Committee in the North West’s House of Traditional Leaders Kgosi Gustav Shole says most of the initiation schools are governed by legislation.

“Ever since we had a committee that makes sure that all the schools abide by the law, the schools are complying with the law that is why as you can see that we’ve got incident free schools and we managed to close the schools that are not complying.”

The province expects numbers of initiates to grow next year.

Water dept warns of illegal water use
28 December 2017, 8:21 PM

The Department of Water and Sanitation has warned those engaging in illegal water use activities in the Western Cape, that they will face prosecution. The department says that several unlawful cases have been brought to their attention.

From Monday, the City of Cape Town will implement level six water restrictions to help avoid Day Zero, when the taps are predicted to run dry in May.

Department spokesperson, Malusi Rayi, says they are working with the Department of Environmental Affairs’ Green Scorpions to prosecute illegal water users.

“There were cases where some of the users would divert water to their properties. As the Department of Water Affairs and Sanitation we are saying we will not tolerate that. We call upon all the water users to adhere to the water act and not engage in unlawful activities and failure to do that, we will engage in prosecution.”

Meanwhile, the City of Cape Town has until Friday to respond to a call for it to scrap it’s proposed drought levy or face court action.

The Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (OUTA) says a decision to charge an additional levy for water, is illegal. It’s written to the city citing its concerns. The additional levy was introduced following a council meeting at the beginning of the month. It will be based on property value rather than water consumption.

The city says the revenue will be used to fund new water projects. Residents have until January 12 to comment on the levy.

OUTA’s portfolio manager for water, Julius Kleynhans the city has not followed procedures in regards to this proposal. “We believe its just another punitive tact. If they don’t do that we will see them in court to stop this because its supposed to go through national treasury because its a tax, its not just a levy. And at the end of the day we also want to force the department of water and sanitation to actually do the water supply. Its not the job of the city to do that,” expressed Kleynhans.

 

Over 10 000 arrests made in Western Cape
28 December 2017, 8:08 PM

Western Cape police have made over 10 000 arrests in under two weeks as the festive season reaches fever pitch. Authorities say they will continue crime fighting initiatives over the coming New Year’s weekend.

It has been a busy two weeks for police officials with thousands of vehicle check points and roadblocks among the operations aimed at curbing crime.

Two suspects were arrested in Mitchells Plain on Thursday after an alleged illegal firearm was found in a vehicle .

Meanwhile, at the nearby shopping mall, mounted patrols are being used as a crime deterrent. New police recruits have also been deployed to bolster police visibility.

“It’s quite a number of arrests and some of them are associated with crimes dependent on police action. Those include the illegal possession of firearms, drunken driving cases, as well as drugs,” Western Cape Police Commissioner Lieutenant General Khombinkosi Jula.

Must Read: W Cape collisions claim 10 lives

Jula says additional police resources have been deployed to various crime hotspots. “We have operations that are also focusing in the various CBDS and the malls for an example this particular mall. We are also focusing in other areas like the ports of entry, also the murder stations and the gang infested stations, so the operations are going on and will continue into this weekend.”

Shoppers have welcomed the crime fighting efforts, with others calling on SAPS to do more. “There is a lot of crime here so they must patrol,” says one of the shoppers.

Police have meanwhile appealed to motorists to refrain from drinking and driving and have pledged to work flat out to keep communities, and public spaces safe.

 

Motorists have been asked to abide by the rules of the road.
Goods worth nearly R500 000 seized at Mpumalanga roadblock
28 December 2017, 8:07 PM

Illegal goods worth nearly R500 000 have been seized at a roadblock in Komartipoort, Mpumalanga.

National Police Commissioner, General Khehla Sitole, joined the South African Police Service (Saps), traffic officers and members of the South African National Defence Force (SANDF), as part of the festive season clampdown operation.

Police, traffic officers and defence force members have been hard at work. They confiscated R89, 500 worth of counterfeit money and seized illegal goods worth nearly half a million rand.

Traffic fines were issued and at least one person arrested.

Sitole says the operation is yielding results. He says over 4800 vehicles and 13 714 people have been searched and fines were issued.

Many people have been arrested for various law transgressions since the beginning of the festive season and criminals have been warned. Mpumalanga Police Commissioner General Mondli Zuma says 2850 people have been arrested.

He has warned the members of the public that police will be on the road, mall and all public spaces. “We are working 24 hours.”

The National Commissioner will visit other provinces until the end of the holiday season in support of the men in blue. Road users have also been urged to be responsible. At least four people were killed and two others injured on the R36 road between Breyten and Carolina on Wednesday night.

It is suspected that the driver lost control of his vehicle, causing it to overturn. The driver has since been arrested and charged with culpable homicide. He is believed to have been driving under the influence of alcohol.

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