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South Africans warned about the dangers of binge drinking
30 December 2019, 2:58 PM

South Africans have been urged not to overindulge in alcohol during the festive season as irresponsible drinking patterns could lead to increased road fatalities, domestic abuse and serious contact crimes.

The country was ranked the sixth biggest drinking nation by the World Health Organisation (WHO).

According to the WHO’s 2018 global status report on alcohol and health, South Africans are considered not to be responsible users of alcohol. They rather take to binge drinking.

Gauteng Education MEC, Panyaza Lesufi, who’s also acting as Premier of the province, has expressed disgust at the high rate South Africans consume alcohol.

Lesufi has also been extremely vocal in the fight against alcohol abuse on social media. Lesufi’s hashtag #AlcoholFreeSA at one stage also trended at Number one on Twitter.

Lesufi says alcohol abuse is destroying our country.

“The level of abuse is completely unacceptable. It is influencing children, it’s killing our skills and it’s also affecting the future of our country. You can’t have a country where its human capital does not develop because people believe that they must drink every weekend and they drink recklessly and irresponsibly as well.”

Lesufi says stricter legislation needs to be put in place to properly regulate the alcohol industry. He also says that law enforcement agencies need to take a harsher approach to illegal liquor outlets and shebeens.

“There are two things that can assist us: one is strong legislation, and two is law enforcement. We have strong legislation that disallows liquor licenses to be distributed freely. We also have law enforcement agencies that can clamp down on illegal taverns, shebeens and shops as well as arresting those who drink alcohol publicly.”

“We believe that we can win this battle but and we really need to support the call of an alcohol-free South Africa, because if we don’t do that, I can tell you, we are going to be a country that’s going to waste.”

The Gauteng Department of Community Safety has urged the public not to over-indulge if they don’t want to be in trouble with the law.

“From a safety perspective, we also want to dissuade our people from excessive drinking particularly when they go to places of entertainment because this is where we tend to experience incidents of fighting – with some of them resulting in murder cases as well as assault resulting in grievous bodily harm cases.”

“As the department, we have always raised the concern about incidents of gender-based violence and it is around this time, due to excessive drinking, that we tend to experience that people committing these types of crimes. We want our people to be safe, the festive season is still far from over and we don’t want to experience more incidents on our roads, sexual assaults and incidents where people are fighting.”

Health professionals have also warned about the serious health implications of binge drinking. Dr Nelisiwe Sibisi says excessive alcohol consumption has a detrimental effect on the body.

“Binge drinking is quite problematic as it introduces your body to high levels of alcohol very quickly and once that happens, it generally overwhelms the body. It is not able to process the amount of alcohol that comes into the system affects the central nervous system, it also affects your sense of judgement, your ability to take care of yourself, your ability to perceive danger and those are the huge problems.”

Alcohol can also affect your mental health and emotional well-being.

Children's rights groups say there's seldom swift justice in these cases and many areas, particularly in rural parts of the country, there are no specialised courts.
GBV victims bemoan long wait for justice
28 December 2019, 7:40 PM

A Soweto family has been subjected to three agonising years of repeated postponements, relating to a rape case. The minor was allegedly violated by her mother’s partner over a period of four years. The case is one of many at the Protea Magistrate’s Court, marred by logistical challenges and continuous delays.

At the tender age of eight she was repeated violated by a perpetrator, someone who was like a father figure to her.

She broke her silence when she was 12-years-old. Her sister expresses her hurt over the abuse of her sibling.

“It hurts me because the perpetrator was living here with my mother. He was our stepfather in all this time, in our own home, he was raping my sister.”

A case was opened in 2016. Months later the docket was allegedly lost forcing the release of the accused on bail. In 2017, a new case was opened. Suffering prolonged psychological stress, the victim has to attend a special needs school.

“Every time we go to court the CCTV cameras are not working. We are told the defense is sick and the case gets postponed. This is affecting and hurting us since it’s been going on since 2016 right up until  2019 – and only last week she testified.”

“I just want this case to end and the perpetrator to be punished. She was like any other child before this incident. Now she’s dyslexic and she has to go to a special school because she unable to cope in a mainstream school.”

Phindi Mjonondwane from the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) of South Africa says there were various reasons for the postponements.

“It cannot only be attributed to the fact that CCTV cameras at some stage were not functioning, at some stage there was no electricity in Soweto so the court couldn’t proceed. The defence and state asked for postponements.”

Children’s rights groups say there’s seldom swift justice in these cases and many areas, particularly in rural parts of the country, there are no specialised courts.

Dr Shahida Omar from the Teddy Bear Clinic: “Ideally in a perfect world, in the so called republic of sexual abuse, we needed to ensure this case was fast tracked and sent to a specialised court and ensured it was finalised.”

Mjonondwane says there are no specialised sexual offences court in Protea.

“Currently where we stand here in Gauteng, Protea to be exact, they don’t have a specialised sexual offences court they use those courts with CCTV facilities in order to hear cases of rapes of minors.”

With each postponement, justice is delayed. The 15-year-old will be back in court in January, reliving the ordeal she so desperately needs closure from.

Tough festive season for NC farmers due to increase in livestock theft
28 December 2019, 7:05 PM

Police in the Northern Cape have had their hands full in combating stock theft since the beginning of the festive season. About 100 livestock have been stolen in the past week.

Farmers in the Northern Cape are experiencing a tough festive season after losing livestock to theft.

Police have also discovered a farmer’s body in a shallow grave in Kuruman.

Bellsbank livestock farmer, Pulane Brandt has lost 38 Goats.

“I’ve lost 38 goats and I’ve reported to the police. We went to look for them but we lost the track. The police have not come back to me ever since. It hurts me because this is my livelihood.”

In another incident, a 48-year-old farmer was killed and his body was discovered in a shallow grave in Kuruman. Four suspects between the ages of 40 and 80 years were arrested.

Police believe they are linked to the murder. This after being found with 13 stolen sheep belonging to the deceased in the bakkie they were driving.

Brigadier Mohale Ramatseba, from the Northern Cape SAPS, says: “It is alleged that the four suspects kidnapped the 48-year-old man at the Ralatlhali village near Kuruman. The victim was allegedly buried in a shallow grave in the village and the suspects proceeded to his kraal where thirteen sheep were stolen and loaded on a bakkie the sheep were found along the road in a bakkie.”

Farmers have now come up with a strategy to fight livestock theft and Itumeleng Lekgetho is a farmer trying to help fight the scourge of theft.

“We tried to make plans because some of the farmers are on holiday and some of our shepherds take leave to go home. So what we do is come together as a patrol team to patrol that area every hour, it’s only at night that they stealing.”

Sehularo Sehularo from the Northern Cape Saamwerk Saamtrek Farmers Association explains how serious the situation is.

“It’s very serious because you as a farmer are the loser because to build a herd of cattle or to build a flock of sheep, it doesn’t take a year, it can take up to five years and takes sacrifice.”

In Dikgweng village, outside Mothibistad, another farmer has lost 30 sheep on Friday, while two minors were arrested in Griekwastad for stealing a goat on Boxing Day.

Meanwhile, murder suspects in Kuruman appeared in court last week and the case was postponed to 3rd of January next year.

 

The victim, believed to be 19 years old, was allegedly set alight by angry residents on Friday.
Police investigate a case of vigilantism in Kliptown
28 December 2019, 6:23 PM

Police are investigating a case of vigilantism following the death of an alleged gang member in Kliptown, Soweto. The victim is believed to be 19-years-old and was allegedly set alight by angry residents on Friday.

They accused him of being part of a group of young people, involved in robberies, murder and selling body parts. Police say they have recorded three murder cases linked to the group.

Community leader Sandile Mqhayi was called to the scene to identify the victim. Mqhayi says the community is under siege. He claims a large number of youths are involved in the gang said to be between the ages of 14 and 19.

“There are about 50 of these children. I don’t think it’s a solution to kill them but something needs to be done.”

The victim was first attacked on Thursday. Police rescued him, but he was released later. This angered residents and they took the law into their own hands.

Another teenager was also targeted but he and another alleged gang member managed to escape. Both were reportedly hospitalised.

The group calls itself DSS, Delela Sizo KuSolva, meaning “Disrespect Us and We Will Deal With You” in Zulu.

Three lives have been lost allegedly at their hands in just two weeks. Fearing for their lives, residents held a meeting.

Community leaders want more police visibility, while accused of not doing their job, police are calling for restraint. Residents say gangsterism is new in Kliptown and they urge police to move fast.

WATCH BELOW:

SANParks rangers issued with letters of precautionary suspension
28 December 2019, 6:10 PM

The five SANParks rangers who were allegedly involved in the assault of cyclist Nic Dlamini have been issued with letters of intention to put them on precautionary suspension.

The 24-year-old top South African cyclist broke his arm during an altercation with Table Mountain Park rangers in the Silvermine game reserve.

SANParks spokesperson Rey Thakhuli says they are also in the process of appointing an independent investigator.

“We have met with the five rangers as management and we have issued them with letters of intention to place them on precautionary suspension. We’ve given them 24 hours to reply, in terms of the law we have to give them an opportunity to exercise their right to reply.”

A video of the alleged incident went viral on social media with members of the public condemning the heavy-handedness of the rangers.

Olympic cycling

The Pedal Power Association, which represents about 20 000 cyclists, says it hopes the extent of injuries sustained by Dlamini will not keep him from competing in Tour de France in July.

Chairperson of Pedal Power, Rens Rezelman, says the country is looking forward to a first homegrown black African cyclist to represent the country in Olympic cycling.

“We’ve all been waiting for the day that he’ll be announced soon to be in the Tour de France squad, which for any professional cyclist should be the ultimate pinnacle of your career to compete in that event. He’s already done what we call the grand tour. He’s been the king of the mountain of our  Britain, also cycling in the Olympic sport. So in 2020, everybody was hoping and holding thumbs for a young black African to represent our country in the Olympics in cycling, which would have been the first,”

Dlamini underwent surgery to his arm on Saturday.

 

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