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Metrobus urges commuters to find alternative transport
10 May 2021, 7:19 PM

Metrobus commuters are urged to find alternative transport as the bus company’s employees forge ahead with their strike action.

All three Metrobus terminals in Johannesburg are still closed as a result of a deadlock in salary negotiations. Workers are demanding an 18% salary increase.

It is still unclear when the strike will end.

“All three depots servicing the north, south and east of Johannesburg totalling just over 400 are not operating. So all of them are affecting about 36 000 commuters daily. So it is a huge number. We just want to urge our commuters to continue finding alternate arrangements because we don’t know when this strike will end but we are trying to do everything possible to end this strike,” says Metrobus spokesperson, Goodwill Shiburi.

Demawusa stands firm on its demands:

Democratic Municipal and Allied Workers Union of South Africa (Demawusa) says the value of the salary of workers has diminished over the years.

“That’s our opening figure. It encapsulates the loss that  have been incurred by workers from 4-5 years. But all these matters are negotiable”, says Demawusa’s Secretary General, Stephen Faulkner who maintains that their demands are reasonable.

Faulkner also calls on Metro bus to reimburse commuters who had already bought their tickets.

” It’ s not as if  Metrobus was not alerted to the the strike, they were well in advance but they allowed commuters to buy future tickets. They have to fully reimburse commuters.

Video: Demawusa explains where they stand with Metrobus

 

Video: Drivers go on strike over salaries

 

Students
Unisa SRC threatens to go to court over delays in accepting students
10 May 2021, 7:00 PM

The Student Representative Council (SRC) at the University of South Africa (UNISA) is threatening to go to court over the institution’s delay in accepting thousands of students for the 2021 academic year.

This is despite a court ruling in March that set aside the decision by the Higher Education Minister to cut the intake of first time entering students by 20 000.

The Economic Freedom Fighters  (EFF) Student Command and the Black Lawyers Association Student Chapter took the University and Higher Education Minister, Blade Nzimande, to court over the decision.

The university, which has blamed the chaos on over-enrollment, is yet to indicate its plans to address the issue.

The SRC has since embarked on a number of protests, including an online strike, but has not been able to disrupt academic activities already in full swing.

SRC Chairperson, Inga Ketwa, says they are disappointed by the university’s failure to comply with the court judgment.

“So, now we are surprised when we see the institution not complying with the court judgement and we view this as a serious undermining, very disrespectful way of approaching things. It’s disrespecting our justice system.”

Despite several engagements between student representative bodies and university management, Ketwa says they are now considering going back to court.

“We have tried to shut down campuses, physically, (and) so, it has not been effective. So, we’re left with no other choice, but to seek a legal route. But of course, a legal route is draining. So, we are still exploring that. On Friday, higher education officials told parliament the minister was seeking legal counsel on the matter after receiving a copy of the judgment on April 6th. The university was not available for comment,” says Ketwa.

Nomvelo Zulu has been in Pretoria since February hoping to finally start with her Law degree after completing a higher certificate in 2020.

Although not a first time entering student, the decision to limit the new intake seems to have affected her too. She visits the Sunnyside campus daily, hoping for better news. But her hopes are slowly fading.

“I was wearing size 35, but now I’m wearing 32. I’ve been here since February to try and to have the offer. It’s very difficult for me because I’m paying for myself. In my heart, I do have room for disappointment. It’s now May, and you would also lose hope if you were me.”

Pretoria university students demand clarity on funding:

 

Water Day Zero fast approaching for Eastern Cape municipality
10 May 2021, 5:30 PM

Residents of Kouga municipality have begun to feel the pinch of the drought as they now experience water cuts almost the whole day.

This as Day Zero is fast approaching for this municipality, which draws its water from the Kouga supply dam.

Kouga Dam levels are currently at 4.25%.  Small towns such as Hankey and Patensie face severe water shortages, and the water shedding that is now in place is causing panic.

Residents in townships of Hankey in the Eastern Cape say they are bearing the brunt of this drought.

Most of the residents are unemployed, meaning they have to sit through the dry period of the day as the municipality enforces water restrictions.

Many go without a drop of water for more than nine hours a day. They claim that when they get water for a couple of hours during the night, it is of poor quality and they fear using it.

Video: Day Zero is fast approaching for the Kouga Municipality

Residents say they are getting frustrated.

“I am mother to a little girl. She has suffered severe rash these past couple of weeks, and it is frustrating. I take her to the doctors and everyone says it is the water we are using. Now, where will we get money to buy water?” says one resident.

“I am very concerned because we don’t get water, especially in the townships. We don’t even get water trucks. How are we going to cook? How are we going to wash clothes or dishes? We are at home most of the day. Even now, there is no water,” adds another concerned resident.

So far, there has been no significant amount of rain to relieve the municipality of drought.

The Gamtoos Irrigation Board says although the past week brought welcome rain, the situation remains critical.

CEO Rienette Colesky says these restrictions are a necessary part of water managing strategies.

“We’ve managed the water supply as best as possible to this point. One of the tools that we do is restrictions and the system has been restrictive for the past four years, in terms of domestic and agricultural use. So, the source has been managed well.”

The municipality says it’s working around the clock in finding various water supply alternatives.

Executive Mayor, Horatio Hendricks, says though they are distributing of tankers, they have serious budget constraints.

“I must admit that we do try by all means to provide water to the people, and we have devised means to save the amount of water we have, despite certain challenges. But the issue of the budget is also a problem. We have very limited budget and are, therefore, constrained. We have also noticed that the water in tanks is compromised, but we will work round the clock to find alternatives.”

The municipality remains hopeful for more welcome rain in the coming weeks as Day Zero is predicted on the 1st of June. Residents are urged to continue using water sparingly.

Alleged Western Cape underworld kingpin, police appear in court for money laundering
10 May 2021, 4:45 PM

The case against alleged underworld kingpin Nafiz Modack and anti-gang unit policeman, Ashley Tabisher, has been transferred to the Blue Downs regional court.

The pair made a brief appearance in the Bishop Lavis Magistrate’s Court on a charge of corruption and money laundering. It’s alleged that Modack offered Tabisher R10 000 and a cellphone in exchange for information on when police would carry out operations against him.

Modack also faces a slew of other charges including conspiracy to commit murder, attempted murder and extortion.

He is set to apply for bail on consolidated charges in the Blue Downs regional court. This follows multiple charges brought against him in recent weeks since his arrest. Among them, the attempted murder of Cape Town attorney, William Booth, the 2019 attempted murder of anti-gang unit member Charl Kinnear as well as kidnapping and extortion of an investor, Sameer Vallie.

In court on Monday, Modack’s lawyers said his client was being mistreated at the secret location where he’s being held.

“First, Mr Modack complained about sleeping on a concrete floor and that affected his kidneys and also complained about Halaal food not being served in prison. He wanted his bail application to be done today which was a bit strange because you cannot separate the two bail applications with the same accused,”  says NPA Spokesperson, Eric Ntabazalila.

Outside court, Modack’s supporters put up placards questioning why the state plans on opposing bail.

Supporter, Safia Mohammed, claim’s he’s a humanitarian.

“We are here to know why Modack is not out and yet. Remember, every flower has a root and we want to know who the root is, that’s keeping Modack in, why don’t they want Modack to come out? What is the reason?”

Another supporter, Yumna Williams, says Modack does good in their community.

“The feeding didn’t stop. The feeding will continue, with him or without him, but it’s not the same. So, we have come out here to support him in feeding, because a hungry child is basically a sad child,” says Williams.

Modack and Tabisher are expected to appear in the Blue Downs regional court on Friday, with others linked to the cases, including Zane Killian, Jacques Cronje, and Ricardo Morgan.

A date for a bail application is expected to be set on Friday.

SABC to proceed with eviction of illegal occupiers from its Mahikeng flats
10 May 2021, 3:30 PM

The South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) says it intends to proceed with a process to evict all illegal occupiers of SABC properties in Mahikeng, in North West. This after the illegal occupiers failed to restore possession of the Bop TV flats and other SABC properties back to the SABC, as ordered by the North West High Court.

The SABC‘s Group Executive: Corporate Affairs and Marketing, Gugu Ntuli, says they will continue with the eviction process.

“Effectively, the occupants had to leave, they had to vacate the blocks of flats in Mafikeng. The occupants obviously haven’t done so and according to the ruling, we actually indicated that if this was not pursued, if the occupants remained in the building, we would then have to proceed with an eviction process.”

SABC disposes non-core assets:

The SABC had decided to dispose of some of its non-core assets as part of its turnaround strategy. It included more than 20 houses and 60 flats that had been rented out.

In April, Sanco’s Provincial Secretary Khumalo Molefe said they would not allow the SABC to take any decision “without public participation.”

“We have learnt about the unfortunate and unjust action by the SABC based somewhere in Auckland Park, in Gauteng, to sell our property here in Mahikeng in the North West without any public participation. We reject this attempted hijacking of our public property by the SABC and we will not only reject it, they will find us in the building. We will defend these buildings and we know how these buildings came about. It was because of the contributions of our parents from the University of the North West to every building. It is because our parents contributed through their taxes through their blood and sweat that you find in the province. We will not stand by the side and allow the SABC, sitting somewhere in Auckland Park, to take the decisions about our public property.”

SABC Spokesperson Mmoni Seapolelo, said at the time, the public broadcaster would continue with the auctioning of its non-core assets.

“The SABC will in May 2021, in line with section 52 D of the Public Finance Management Act for the disposal of non-core assets, hold a public auction of residential property which were rented by SABC employees and none employees. In order to ensure a fair and transparent process and as part of the recommendations of this process  a public auction will be held in May 2021.”

Community members hijack flats belonging to the SABC in Mahikeng:

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