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Steve Smith
Smith hopes to return to 2019 international cricket
21 December 2018, 9:36 AM

Former Australia captain Steve Smith said on December 21, he hopes to return to international cricket in time for the 2019 World Cup and is braced for a “hostile” reception from English fans once his ball-tampering suspension finishes.

Smith was facing Australian media for the first time since his teary apology at a news conference at Sydney airport on March 29, when he pledged to “do anything” to make up for his mistake in Cape Town.

Smith, along with former vice captain David Warner and Cameron Bancroft, remains banned from international and state-level cricket in Australia as he serves out a 12-month suspension for his part in the Cape Town ball tampering scandal.

The 29-year-old told reporters it had been tough at times watching Australia play from the side-lines and said he was determined to break back into the side for the May 30-July 14 World Cup and the Ashes beyond that.

Smith recently featured in an advertisement with the local arm of Britain’s Vodafone Group in a campaign that leverages the nation’s ball-tampering shame for marketing purposes.

Local media reported Smith was donating his fee for the advertisement to a local charity for men’s mental health.

The advertisement and Smith’s participation in it was quick to draw mixed responses on social media.

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Miguel Louw
Bail bid for man charged with Miguel Louw’s murder
21 December 2018, 8:09 AM

The Durban Magistrate’s Court is expected to rule on Friday on a bail application by the man charged with murdering nine-year-old Miguel Louw. 43-year-old Mohammed Ebrahim was the last person to be seen with the boy before his disappearance in July.

Miguel Louw‘s badly decomposed body was discovered in September near Ebrahim’s home in Verulam, north of Durban.

The investigating officer in the case, Rajan Govender, says while the evidence implicating Ebrahim in Louw’s murder is circumstantial, there is a strong case against him.

Govender referred to the fact that the pathologist who examined Louw’s body established that he had been dead for more than four weeks before he was found, which could be the day Louw disappeared.

Ebrahim’s lawyer Chris Gounden argued that the pathologist report could mean that Louw was killed while the accused was still in custody as it did not specify the time of death.

Gounden told the court that the accused had complied with previous bail conditions in his kidnapping case.

The court is expected to hand down it decision in bail hearing marathon.

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City-to-city buses
City-to-City and Translux bus strike over
21 December 2018, 7:12 AM

The two-day bus strike by Autopax workers is over. Workers at Autopax, which operates City-to-City and Translux buses, stopped working on Wednesday.

They were aggrieved by a change to their salary rate for Sunday work.

The Passenger Rail Agency (PRASA) which is the holding company for Autopax intervened and an agreement was reached to reverse the change.

Close to 4 000 bus commuters had been left stranded by the bus strike. The South African Transport and Allied Workers Union (Satawu) says their members are back at work.

Satawu’s Zanele Sabela explains: “The workers at Autopax actually went back to work on Thursday afternoon after a meeting with the Group CEO of Prasa. After it was decided that their outstanding monies will be paid on Friday. And that the Group CEO will meet with them again on the 17th of January to discuss their grievances, because they were very unhappy with what was happening at the company.”

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Job Mokgoro
Ramokoka residents pleased at appointment of Administrator
21 December 2018, 6:51 AM

North West Premier, Job Mokgoro, has appointed an Administrator – Dr Ditaba Rantsane – for the community of Baphalane ba Ramokoka near Rustenburg.

This follows months of unrest in the villages of Ramokokastad, which severely affected the provisions of essential services, including schooling and health.

Residents embarked on protest action in July, accusing the Baphalane traditional council of maladministration and corruption.

The protests which saw a local clinic, schools and several houses torched resulted in some learners missing their final examinations, and residents having to travel over 30 kilometres to access health services. Other services were also halted, including public transport.

Now stability seems to have returned to the area and surrounding villages.  Among the community demands, was for an administrator to be appointed to run the affairs of the village.

Mokgoro explains, “The Administrator will take over the functions of the Traditional Council that are prescribed in the law, so that there should be a movement forward. So that the community of Baphalane should find each other and able to continue with the lives and work with government in repairing whatever wounds, whatever damages that have been brought there on the community.”

Mokgoro also brought along representatives from different departments to assure the community that all services will be restored. Bojanala Chief Director for Health, Pule Monale, explains their plan of action.

“We are going to institute mobile services to restore the service in the meantime we then have infrastructure assessment which would determine how soon we can be able to have new infrastructure running.  And then the second step would be to get park homes should be a temporary facility which will then be utilised for the services.”

The community has welcomed the intervention by the provincial government. Community leader Charles Makinita says, “I am so very happy that services are back and the appointment of the administrator is a good thing so that the community will come back to normal. Our children will now go to school and at least there is arrangement that has been done by various departments.”

Other residents had this to say when expressing their satisfaction: “We are hoping that once services are restored we will be able to find jobs and those who want to go back to school will be able to do so.”

“We are very happy that our struggle to go to the Union building was not in vain.”

All other services are expected to be completely restored in the New Year.

Someone donating blood.
SANBS calls for blood donations in Free State
20 December 2018, 1:02 PM

The South African National Blood Service (SANBS) in the Free State has requested members of the public to donate blood during the festive season.

Blood donors have been urged to phone the national toll free number at 08000 11 903 or Bloemfontein 051 400 6800 for information on where donor stations area.

Donor Relations Practitioner in Bloemfontein, Natalie Booysen, says more blood is needed during the holiday period due to an increase of road crashes.

”Currently the blood situation in very stable. Unfortunately this time of the year with all the road accidents our blood usage is a little bit higher. We request everybody to come and donate as soon as possible. All blood groups are very important to us, especially the O blood group because we can give that to everybody. So the need for blood never stops, it only increases.”

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