Posts tagged as: cape

South Africa: Dial-a-Ride Users Say the Service Is Deteriorating

By William Yoder

Some members of the Dial-a-Ride User’s Forum have expressed concerns about the safety and quality of the service as well as fee increases under the current contractor.

Members of the forum say the service they get from Dial-a-Ride, which provides transportation to people with disabilities, has deteriorated since HG Travelling Services won the tender on 1 December 2015.

In April, users protested against the provincial government about the use of MyCiTi branding, availability, cost and safety. A Dial-a-Ride bus was attacked recently in a housing protest.

Debbie Bedien, a member of the forum, said that buses used to be plain white with yellow Dial-a-Ride logos. “Whether it was taxi strikes, public strikes,or bus strikes, we weren’t affected,” Bedien said. But the buses now have the colour scheme and the logo of MyCiTi buses.

HG Travelling Services referred GroundUp to the City of Cape Town for comment. The City said the vehicles were clearly marked on the back and sides. However, a Dial-a-Ride vehicle which GroundUp photographed did not have these signs on the right side (it did have a sign on the left side).

Brett Herron, Mayoral Committee Member for Transport, said, “The MyCiTi logo features on all of those vehicles that are contracted by the City to provide a public transport service to the public.”

Dial-a-Ride Forum members also complained about the rising cost of the service. Since 2015, a 20km trip with Dial-a-Ride has gone from R8.80 to R13; for a trip under 5km it has gone from R6.70 to R9.

Members of the forum complained that the service was very booked up and Cape Town’s other public transport services were mostly inaccessible, a situation not set to change for several years.

“By 10:30am all rides [for the next week] are fully booked,” said Bedien.

About 800 people use the service on a “regular or ad hoc basis” according to Herron. He said HG Travelling Services had increased capacity for wheelchair users from 72 to 102 since gaining the contract. It currently operates 21 vehicles, 20 of which can accommodate passengers using wheelchairs.

Elroy Lodewyk, also a member of the Dial-a-Ride forum, said bookings were sometimes missed. He said some commuters had even lost their jobs due to the lack of reliability of Dial-a-Ride.

But Herron said, “The City was not informed about any commuter who has lost his/her job as a result of the Dial-a-Ride service.”

He said financial penalties could be imposed by the City should HG Travelling Services fail to provide adequate service.

Dial-a-Ride users say that passengers can be on the bus for hours. Another member of the forum, Luwie Links, said, “They pick up something like nine people. If you are first to be picked up at 5:10am in the morning, you will arrive at work at 8 or 8:30am.”

Members of the forum are also unhappy that Dial-a-Ride now requires users to be assessed by an occupational therapist every two years, even in cases where users’ disabilities are permanent.

Lodewyk said, “I’m 22 years in a wheelchair. What, after 23 years I will walk again?”

South Africa: Port Elizabeth Houses Stand in ‘Dams of Human Faeces’

By Joseph Chirume

Residents of a housing project in Port Elizabeth have been living with raw sewage flowing into their yards for more than two weeks.

Resident Nolukholo Nogodama of Embhovane, Motherwell, said, “I can’t let my kid go outside because the whole yard is filled with human sludge. The water is black and smells.” She worried about the health hazard it posed.

Nogodama said though the problem had been reported several times to the municipality, it had not been fixed.

Madoda Pule said, “I have three children who are all below the age of ten … There are worms and big flies all over the place.”

Pule said residents would stage protests if the municipality continued to ignore their pleas. “We cannot continue to live with dams of human faeces around our houses,” he said.

Spokesperson for the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality Mthubanzi Mniki said, “The municipality is experiencing challenges with sewage infrastructure where foreign objects like tyres, plastic bottles and construction rubble are thrown inside manholes, leading to blockages and bursts.”

Mniki said a team would be sent to resolve the problem and urged residents not to dispose of “foreign objects” in the drains.

South Africa

Western Cape Tourists Urged to Save Water

The City of Cape Town has kicked off its water saving campaign, ‘Save like a local’ — this time targeting tourists… Read more »

South Africa: City Power Managers Appear in Court for Multimillion Rand Fraud

press release

Pretoria — Two City Power project co-ordinating managers, Maeto Isaac Thoka (43), and Mpfarisini Godfrey Mulaudzi (40), appeared in the Johannesburg Specialised Commercial Crime Court on October, 9th 2017 after being arrested on the same day for alleged fraud and corruption.

Investigations by the Hawks’ Serious Commercial Unit uncovered a tender fraud, where the pair allegedly conspired with an Engineering entity (Setheo Engineering) which was awarded a tender valued at over R143 – million by City Power to upgrade a substation in Eldorado Park.

Directors of the said engineering company; Tinashe Mongwana (40), and Precious Ncube (43), allegedly submitted fraudulent work completion certificate for payment of part of work allegedly done on the site. The project managers, Thoka and Mulaudzi then authorised the payment of just over R66 – million despite the fact that work wasn’t done on site.

All four are out on bail with strict conditions and are expected back in court on 16 October 2017.

South Africa

Western Cape Tourists Urged to Save Water

The City of Cape Town has kicked off its water saving campaign, ‘Save like a local’ — this time targeting tourists… Read more »

South Africa: KZN Health Dept Takes Over Mission Hospital

Despite its recent health crisis and supply chain woes, the Department of Health in KwaZulu-Natal says that it will efficiently and responsibly take over the Saint Mary’s Mission Hospital in Marianhill, Durban.

MEC for Health Sibongiseni Dhlomo on Monday announced that the department had taken over the running of the 200-bed hospital, which was established in 1927, from October 1.

The hospital, which was previously run by a church and serves a populace of three million people, met with the department last year after it ran into financial troubles.

Dhlomo said shutting down the hospital would have left a massive gap in much needed public health services in the area.

“It would have spelt disaster as it would have severely compromised access to healthcare services.”

According to Dhlomo, the recent crisis the department had experienced would not affect the running of the hospital. A damning report by the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) found that the department failed its cancer patients.

The 68-page SAHRC report found that the “delays in the provision of’ and in some cases the denial of’ oncology services to cancer patients’ some of whom are destitute and in need of health care’ affects them in a most fundamental way”.

Dhlomo has publicly stated that poor human resources and supply chain management largely contributed to the crisis. The province was left with no oncologists and gaps in upper management this year.

Treasury and cabinet are aware of take over

Dhlomo said that the provincial cabinet and Treasury were well aware of the take over of Saint Mary’s saying the decision was taken in April.

“Cabinet has endorsed this.”

He, however, conceded that treasury had identified issues within the department and was consistently working closely with them on finding solutions.

“We have accepted that treasury has come in to say [we] are very weak when it comes to financial management and that we are weak with supply chain.”

Dhlomo said the department had committed R11.4m toward the purchase of moveable assets at the facility at a tender auction in September.

He said the land and buildings for the hospital would be purchased by the department for R142m. Most of the staff at the hospital would also be retained.

Source: News24

South Africa

Taps Slow Down to Trickle As Water Rationing Starts in Cape Town

The City of Cape Town has rolled out Phase One of its Critical Water Shortages Disaster Plan and pre-selected suburbs… Read more »

South Africa: Irregular Expenditure At National Health Laboratory Service Increases By R990 Million

press releaseBy Patricia Kopane MP

According to the National Health Laboratory Service’s (NHLS) Annual Report, irregular expenditure increased by R990 million in just one year. Even more shocking is fact that its deficit increased by R2.2 billion over the same period, from a surplus of R273 million the previous year, to a R1.9 billion deficit.

The DA will write to the Minister of Health, Dr Aaron Motsoaledi, to demand that he provide a detailed plan of action to address the serious financial problems at the NHLS as a matter of urgency as these revelations could have devastating consequences for people’s lives.

Minister Motsoaledi must also provide this plan of action in no less than one month as this gross mismanagement of the NHLS’s finances no puts the lives of the more than 80 percent of South Africans who rely on it to diagnose HIV/Aids, Malaria, Cancer and Tuberculosis (TB).

A failure to produce this plan would be a damning indictment on Minister Motsoaledi for neglecting this looming crisis.

Included in the irregular expenditure are the following shocking figures:

R575 million paid despite the contracts expiring; and

R195 million spent on payments to suppliers with no contracts in place at all.

The NHLS is obviously in serious financial trouble and questions must be also be asked about it financial management and how it got to such serious levels in just one year.

The NHLS plays a vital role in the South African public health through epidemiology, surveillance and outbreak response activities. The majority of our people rely on the NHLS to provide them with pathology services in order to determine whether or not they have life-threatening and possibly contagious diseases.

The DA will not sit back and watch as the NHLS is run to the ground and threatens the lives of our people who have no other alternative to turn to.

Patricia Kopane MP

DA Shadow Minister of Health

South Africa

Court Decision a Victory for Asylum Seekers

The ruling by the Supreme Court of Appeal that the Cape Town Refugee Reception Office must be opened is a victory for… Read more »

South Africa: One Dead in Helicopter Crash Near Cape Town

Photo: ER24

Debris at the scene of the helicopter crash.

One person died when a helicopter crashed in Strand, outside of Cape Town, on Thursday.

Western Cape traffic chief Kenny Africa confirmed to News24 that the chopper crashed on the grounds of a school in Lwandle just after noon.

The pilot died in the crash.

More to follow.

Source: News24

South Africa

Alleged Cannibals Due in Court

The five men accused of cannibalism are expected back in the Estcourt Magistrate’s Court on Thursday. Read more »

South Africa: Shack Dwellers Warn of More Protests Over Electricity

Three times over the past 20 years, Noxolo Silala from Simanyene in Lwandle, Strand, has had to rebuild her life after losing everything in shack fires which ravaged all she had managed to scrape together with the meagre wages she earns as a domestic worker.

She dreams of safely turning on a light and switching on the kettle to make a cup of tea, or flushing a toilet and running herself a bath after a long day at work.

“But that is never going to happen because, for 20 years, we have been waiting for that day to come. All we get are promises,” the mother of five said.

Silala, 50, was among dozens of Lwandle and Nomzamo shack dwellers who took to the streets on Monday, September 25, in a protest to demand service delivery for the Polile, Masakhane, Simanyene, New Village, Siyanyanzela, Freedom Park, Chris Hani Park and Task Team Village informal settlements.

The communities are situated on land owned by the South African National Roads Agency Limited (Sanral).

“For years, the City of Cape Town has been promising us that they will buy the land from Sanral so that services can be provided to us. We have been here since forever,” a frustrated Silala said.

“Year in, year out, all we hear is talk. Enough is enough.”

Breaking the law for small comforts

She, along with nine other households, lost all their possessions in a blaze in December, 2016. Using a candle for light scares her, she said.

“I have seen the damage that little flame can do. The fire which took everything from me that day was caused by a candle that had fallen over in a neighbour’s house. You play with your life if you light it.”

People are literally dying for electricity, she explained.

“Look at that,” she said, pointing toward multi-coloured cables attached to poles along the highway.

“That is how some of us get electricity. So many people have been electrocuted while trying to get power, especially young people and children because they can climb up to connect it. You have to be izinyoka [cable thieves] to have small comforts like light in your house.”

The N2 was closed between Sir Lowry’s Pass and Hazeldene on Monday as residents set tyres and rubbish on fire.

Nineteen protesters – 17 men and two women – were charged with public violence and appeared in the Strand Magistrate’s Court on Tuesday.

Police spokesperson Captain FC van Wyk said police officers “took action” to disperse the crowd and officers, along with other law enforcement agencies, remained at the scene to defuse the situation.

‘We want dignity’

Community leader Vusumzi Madaphu said teargas and rubber bullets were fired at the protesters.

“But we won’t back down. It hasn’t gotten us anywhere. We will continue with our action because if it’s only a once off, they will think we’re playing,” he warned.

“But we are serious. Our people can’t walk to the communal toilets because they can’t see in the night. There are no lights, no electricity. They have to use buckets because the loos are also far away. This is an injustice. We want dignity.”

City of Cape Town mayoral committee member for Area East Anda Ntsodo on Tuesday said the city was “looking into the concerns raised by the residents.

“Although we respect the right of residents to protest, this must be done in a peaceful manner that does not infringe on the rights of others,” he said.

Nomzamo ward councillor Sitembile Mfecane told News24 that a meeting with the relevant officials was being planned for Wednesday morning to discuss the protesters’ demands.

Source: News24

South Africa: Flames, Rubber Bullets Mark Cape Town #TaxiStrike

RESOURCE: Golden Arrow bus torched in Delft on the Cape Flats

Rubber bullets were fired into a group of people throwing stones at buses and police in Du Noon, north of Cape Town, on Monday as a taxi driver strike took hold.

Police spokesperson Captain FC Van Wyk said police officers who were keeping watch at the bus stop in Du Noon, not far from the famous Killarney race track, also released tear gas to bring a crowd under control.

On the N1 at Joostenbergvlakte, a burning barricade blocked the road but this was quickly cleared by police. Buses were also stoned at Borcherds Quarry near the Cape Town International Airport.

On Potsdam and Wellington roads in Fisantekraal, a group of people threw stones at police and traffic officials and in Delft a Golden Arrow bus was set alight.

The N7 between Plattekloof and Potsdam roads was also closed – blocking a major route for the industries to the north of Cape Town, which include a petrol refinery.

“Luckily, at this point in time nobody is injured,” Western Cape traffic chief Kenny Africa told News24.Meanwhile, the South African National Taxi Council in the Western Cape was meeting the province’s transport MEC Donald Grant.

Ward councillor Khaya Yozi said buses were also stoned at Site C in Khayelitsha and a Dairy Bell truck was torched on Govan Mbeki Road near the electrical depot.

“Various roads in and around Nyanga have been filled with rubble and stones,” said Yozi. “We urge motorists to be on the lookout.”

MyCiTi buses were filled to capacity on Monday morning as they transported commuters who usually take taxis to work, but because they had shortened their routes, commuters further afield such as those in Du Noon were stranded.

The reasons for the strike were not immediately clear.

Source: News24

South Africa

Former AU Chair Dlamini-Zuma Not the Woman Other Women Need

There is a naive expectation that women should be supportive of other women, particularly when they’re in places of… Read more »

South Africa: Five Injured in Durban After Roof Collapse

Five people have been injured in two separate incidents after two roofs collapsed on the corner of Grey Street and Warick Triangle in Durban due to strong winds in the area on Saturday.

Robert McKenzie of the Emergency Medical Services (EMS) told News24 that there were two major and two minor injuries on Grey Street.

In a separate incident, one person was injured at Warick Triangle at a filling station in Durban after a roof collapsed.

“Two of the people who have been injured have been taken to a local hospital,” he said.

4people have been injured in the Durban CBD when a roof collapsed. Another person in Warick Triangle injured, also from collapsed roof– KZN EMS (@kznems) September 16, 2017

McKenzie said that there was lots of damage reported from Southern KwaZulu-Natal all the way to Durban due to the strong winds. He advised those driving in the area to be cautious when driving.

Source: News24

South Africa

Flames, Rubber Bullets Mark Cape Town #TaxiStrike

Rubber bullets were fired into a group of people throwing stones at buses and police in Du Noon, north of Cape Town, on… Read more »

South Africa: Three Taxify Vehicles Torched in Pretoria

Three Taxify vehicles were torched and destroyed in Sunnyside, Pretoria on Wednesday during an ongoing feud between online taxi operators and metered taxi drivers.

Police spokesperson Captain Daniel Mavimbela confirmed that a total of three Taxify vehicles had been set alight during the course of Wednesday, with the last one being torched during the evening.

Two of the vehicles were set alight after the respective drivers were picking up passengers, said Mavimbela.

“The first vehicle was set alight when a driver of the ride-sharing service was called to pick up a passenger,” said Mavimbela said in a statement.

“While waiting inside his vehicle, he was approached by a group of around eight men who threatened him with violence.”

A “flammable substance” was used to set the vehicle alight and it burnt out completely. The driver escaped unharmed.

The second vehicle was set alight later the afternoon, Mavimbela told News24.

“The vehicle was parked outside of a building when seven men approached the driver. The vehicle was also set alight with a flammable substance and partially damaged.” The driver sustained no injuries.

The third Taxify vehicle was set alight during the course of the evening as the driver attempted to pick up passengers.

Violent feud

Three cases of malicious damage to property were opened and a case of assault has been opened by the first taxi driver.

Taxify could not be reached for comment.

News24 understands that dozens of cases of malicious damage to property have been opened by both Uber and meter taxi drivers in recent months after their vehicles have been stoned, petrol bombed, or set alight.

In July the violent feud saw its first murder after an Uber driver died from injuries he sustained during an attack near Loftus Versveld Stadium in Pretoria on June 10. The Uber driver had suffered serious burn wounds.

Previously, Uber and meter taxi drivers, who asked not to be named for fear of victimisation, spoke to News24, blaming each other for what they called a war.

Both sides argue that the feud emanates over regulations and turf.

Transport Minister Joe Maswanganyi and Police Minister Fikile Mbalula have denounced the violence and have said that meetings are underway to try and find a solution to the problem.

Source: News24

South Africa

Cape Town Mayor’s Household Above Target in Daily Water Usage

City of Cape Town Mayor Patricia de Lille says two-minute showers, doing laundry once a week and leaving dishes in the… Read more »

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