Posts tagged as: durban

South Africa:KZN Storm Damage to Public Buildings Over 16 Million – Public Works

Preliminary costs for repairs on several public buildings that were damaged during last week’s storm in KwaZulu-Natal will cost over R16m to repair, Minister of Public Works Nkosinathi Nhleko has said.

Nhleko said that the final costs were being quantified, but at least 30 public properties in the province needed repairs.

According to Nhleko, some repairs were already underway in 17 state-owned facilities occupied by police, the Departments of Labour, Justice and Defence as well as 13 leased facilities.

He said that contractors were “expected to be on site by the end of this week” after emergency procurement procedures and appointment of contractors were finalised.

Nhleko commended the citizens of KZN on their work done during the storm.

“The heroic action of ordinary citizens and humanitarian organisations has demonstrated Ubuntu,” he said.

A massive storm swept through the province on Tuesday causing extensive damage to large parts of Durban.

Cars were swept away, major highways were blocked and the death toll, which is expected to rise, is currently sitting at 8 people.

Government has yet to account for the missing, including an infant.

Last week the department of public works in the province said that damage to hospitals could run into hundreds of millions of rands.

Source: News24

South Africa

Zuma Fires Critical Communist Leader From Cabinet

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Athletics – Uganda’s Cheptegei and Chelangat Reign in Durban

Uganda’s Joshua Cheptegei was touted as race favourite at Sunday’s inaugural FNB Durban 10K CITYSURFRUN – and the 21-year-old World Championship 10 000m silver medallist lived up to the billing, by smashing the South African all-comers record with a 27min 28sec win.

The previous best of 27:55 was set by Richard Limo in Port Elizabeth 13 years ago. Cheptegei’s time was the fourth fastest time in the world this year, as well as a Ugandan national record. Switzerland’s Julien Wanders, who ended fourth, set a new Swiss record of 28:12.

If that wasn’t enough, Uganda’s 19-year-old Mercyline Chelangat also ran a national record of 31:37 in the women’s race.

The first kilometre saw a bunch of approximately 20 athletes fly past in 2:47, but within the second kilometre the pace increased markedly and the group went past in 2:42, spitting out close on 10 athletes from the front bunch.

The pace then settled to 2:45/km but even that was too fast for some of the bunch and by the 4km mark the pack had been whittled down to four.

Surprisingly, the worlds’ fastest 12km runner, Morris Gachaga was not able to go with the brutal pace; nor was SA 5000m record-holder, Elroy Gelant as Cheptegei surged at 4km, taking SA 10km record holder, Stephen Mokoka, Swiss sensation Wanders and countryman, Stephen Kissa with him.

The halfway mark was passed in 13:47 – well on for a sub 27:30 finish. Cheptegei was relentless and again upped the pace, dropping both Mokoka and Wanders. Kissa hung on for almost another kilometre, before he too had to give way to Cheptegei’s continuous surging.

By 8km, Cheptegei was the sole contender for the title and it was only a race against the clock. Flying down the promenade on Durban’s beachfront, Cheptegei crossed the line in 27:28 to run the fourth fastest time in the world this year.

Second across the line was countryman and training partner, Kissa shaving 24 seconds off his personal best of 28:28 to finish in 28:04 while Wanders knocked 37 seconds off his previous best of 28:49, clocking 28:12.

‘The wind came up and it did affect us,’ said Cheptegei. ‘But I’m very happy. A national record and my PB, yes I’m very happy.’ Asked about why he decided to make the move at 4km, Cheptegei said that it just felt right to go then. ‘We were running hard, we wanted a fast time. The first few kilometres were not consistent in terms of splits, so I wanted to make sure we ran more consistently. Also I felt good and I could see the others were struggling a bit.’

Mokoka, who was chasing his own SA record, finished fourth in 28:34. ‘This was a hard run. Overall I’m happy, but it was hard.’

Just as in the men’s race, it was a Ugandan who took the women’s race in a national record. Mercyline Chelangat (above) had the race of her life, improving her best time of 33:17 by a massive 1:40 to clock an incredible 31:37 for the second-fastest time ever on South African soil behind the 31:33 of Elana Meyer in 1991 – also in Durban.

The initial pace was almost suicidal as the women went through 2km in 6:02 and then settled down. Chelangat, Dorcus Tuitoek and Paskalia Chepkorir then raced together for the next 7km, before Chelangat was able to break away and fly to an incredible time of 31:37, and breaking the previous national record of Uganda which had stood at 32:10.

‘I did not know what to expect, so to run this fast, makes me very happy,’ says Chelangat. ‘I knew I was in good shape and the wind made it difficult, but after today I know I can go a lot faster.’

Paskalia Chepkorir finished second, 10 seconds back (31:47) with Dorcas Tuitoek rounding out the podium (32:11).

First South African across the line was United States based Dominique Scott who finished in 33:26.

‘It’s been a long season, almost 13 months of racing with no break, so I’m quite happy with today,’ says Scott. ‘But it was hard and the wind did add to the challenge. But I loved racing in Durban and hope to be back again. This race is incredible and it was amazing to be part of it.’

Results

ELITE MEN

1 Joshua Cheptegei 27min 28sec, 2 Stephen Kissa 28:04, 3 Julien Wanders 28:12, 4 Stephen Mokoka 28:34, 5 Elroy Gelant 29:11, 6 Joel Mmone 29:31, 7 Phillimon Mathiba 29:38, 8 Mbongeni Nxazozo 29:42, 9 Thabang Mosiako 29:46, 10 Morris Gachaga 29:46

ELITE WOMEN

1 Mercyline Chelangat 31:37, 2 Paskalia Chepkorir 31:47, 3 Dorcas Tuitoek 32:11, 4 Veronicah Nyaruai 32:55, 5 Dom Scott 33:26, 6 Nazret Weldu 33:43, 7 Betha Chikanga 33:59, 8 Maria Shai 35:24, 9 Jenet Mbhele 35:35, 10 Janie Grundling 36:24

South Africa: Developers Win ConCourt Dispute Over Durban High Rise Seek Legal Costs

The developers of a controversial high-rise apartment building on Durban’s Berea – which, after a protracted court battle waged with neighbours has now been given the green light by the Constitutional Court – say they are seeking legal advice on the violation of their rights and will recover costs from those who litigated against them.

The attorney acting for Serengeti Rise Industries, Norton Rose Fulbright Director Marelise van der Westhuizen, said in a statement on Wednesday that her client’s integrity had been unfairly called into question and had been subjected to an “unwarranted and baseless attack” on its character.

Serengeti and the eThekwini Municipality were initially taken to the Durban High Court by neighbours of the “boundary-to-boundary” development who claimed the rezoning of the site in Currie Road was unlawful and the subsequent building plan approval had allowed for the construction of a “monstrosity”, out of keeping with the area and which blocked views, privacy and sunlight.

Durban High Court Judge Esther Steyn ruled in favour of the neighbours and ordered the partial demolition of the building to conform with its original zoning.

However, this was overturned by the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) which found that the building and all approvals given to it were legal.

The neighbours then approached the Constitutional Court asking for leave to appeal this decision.

But last week, that court refused this, saying there were no prospects of success and ordering the neighbours to pay the company’s legal costs.

‘No prospects of success’

Van der Westhuizen said: “Despite the unfortunate media hype and sensationalist reporting which has muddied the facts since inception, the orders of Constitutional Court and the SCA again vindicate our long held position that the judgment of the Durban High Court was simply inconsistent with the law and judicial precedent.

“This is particularly telling, given that the Constitutional Court dismissed the applications on the basis that there were no prospects of success for the applicants on appeal to the Constitutional Court, a complete contradiction to the misguided and careless views expressed by the applicants on the matter which, in our view, were based on a selective consideration of the factual circumstances and an incorrect understanding of the law.”

She said her clients had always complied fully with their legal obligations.

“The company is in the process of seeking legal advice on the violation of its rights in addition to pressing ahead with the very significant cost orders awarded by the highest courts in South Africa.”

While the building is almost complete, construction stopped while the litigation was ongoing.

Van der Westhuizen said Serengeti Rise now intended to complete its “one of a kind development”.

She said it would transform the Durban skyline positively and enhance the beauty of this city.

“Serengeti Rise would also like to express its sincere gratitude and appreciation to its purchasers, partners and members of the community who stood by it during this difficult period.”

Source: News24

South Africa

Alleged Cannibals Due in Court

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South Africa: Nine Killed in Deadly Weekend On the Roads

Nine people have been killed and more than a dozen injured in a spate of accidents across the country’s roads this weekend, various paramedics reported.

In the deadliest crash, three people were killed and five more injured when two vehicles collided on the R551 in Meyerton on Saturday afternoon.

“Three people were declared dead on the scene,” said ER24 spokesperson, Ineke van Huyssteen.

One of those found injured was airlifted to hospital while the four others were also transported for further treatment.

In Maraisburg, a woman and baby were injured after their vehicle rolled on the N1/N17. The baby sustained minor injuries but the woman had to be airlifted to hospital.

In a separate incident four people were injured, one critically, when their vehicle turned over on the N14 on Eeufees Road on Saturday afternoon.

In a freak accident, a 21-year-old man was killed after a tree stump fell on him while he was at Suncoast Beach in Durban early on Saturday morning.

“It is believed that the tree stump was on top of an embankment before it came loose and rolled down on top of the man,” paramedics said.

He was declared dead on the scene.

Also in Durban on Saturday morning, two taxis collided in Berea Road, causing one to veer off into a concrete pillar, Rescue Care paramedics reported.

The driver was found trapped in the wreckage, having sustained serious injuries, said the paramedic service’s spokesperson Ceron Lennox.

The other driver was not hurt and the taxis were empty of passengers at the time of the crash.

In Klerksdorp a female pedestrian was killed after being knocked down by a truck on the N12.

Friday night also proved deadly on the roads. In Protea Heights in Brackenfell, a female scooter driver was killed after being knocked down by a bakkie.

“When ER24 paramedics arrived on the scene… a woman was found lying underneath the bakkie’s wheel,” said Van Huyssteen.

Paramedics implemented advanced life support interventions. The patient later died in hospital.

In Rustenburg, two people, including a policewoman, were killed in a head-on collision on the N4 between Helen Joseph and Dr Moroka Street, also on Friday night.

The policewoman had been travelling in a bakkie. Officials used the jaws-of-life to extricate her. Despite resuscitation attempts she died on the scene. A man travelling in the other vehicle, a Ford Figo, was also declared dead on the scene.

In Orkney, a man, aged 37, was killed after he collided with a truck at a crossing on the R30 on Friday night.

“When ER24 paramedics arrived on scene… the vehicle was stuck underneath the truck.”

The man succumbed to his injuries shortly thereafter.

Source: News24

South Africa: Durban Clubs Stalling R35 Billion Development

The Durban Point Development Company (DPDC) says a R35bn project to upgrade the area close to the harbour mouth is being delayed – at a potential cost of up to R100 000 a day – because two water sports clubs are refusing to vacate their clubhouses overlooking Vetch’s Beach.

The company, in its urgent application before the Durban High Court today, is seeking immediate eviction orders against the Point Yacht Club and the Durban Paddle-Ski Club.

But the clubs are fighting back, accusing the company of reneging on agreements and placing their sports in jeopardy.

The dispute has a long history which has been brought to a head by today’s application.

But it is unlikely that a victor will emerge any time soon with the clubs raising legal points and the yacht club seeking to join the MEC of economic development and tourism in the action.

To further complicate matters, the two clubs are involved in an acrimonious dispute with the other two affected clubs, the Durban Undersea Club (DUC) and the Durban Ski Boat Club (DSBC), both of which have agreed to move to a “glass fronted” temporary facility which, the company says, it has built at a cost of R2.5m.

Umbrella body

They also have a controlling vote in an “umbrella body”. Point Water Sports Club – refused to be recognised by other clubs – has been negotiating with the developer, which is half owned by the city and half by a Malaysian consortium.

Project manager Soban Gangaraju insists in his affidavit that the clubs have no right to stay.

“The heart of our case is that we are the owner[s] of the property,” he said.

“The company intends to construct an extension to the current promenade, extending it from uShaka Marine World to the harbour entrance. It is a massive undertaking, with construction on reclaimed land which requires specialised techniques. The total budget is about R370m.

“We intend to sign with the successful tenderer within weeks. The promenade development will include accommodation for the Point Water Sports Club.”

Gangaraju said any delays would cost R37m a year – or about R100 000 a day. On top of that, the roll-out of the entire 15-year R35bn project would be delayed, eroding investor confidence.

He said this would also affect 11 000 jobs, surrounding property values and impact on potential rates income of R200m a year, and tax revenue of R1.7bn.

He said in terms of a Memorandum of Agreement signed in 2008, it was always contemplated that the umbrella body would negotiate on behalf of the clubs and it was “well within its rights” to conclude the lease agreements for a temporary site and the final clubhouse to be built under a new promenade.

Gangaraju conceded that the original agreement had provided for the clubs to purchase the site for about R873 000 and erect their own building, but said things had changed and the deal was now that they would lease the property.

“The said agreement fell away for the simple practical reason that the clubs were unable to raise sufficient funds to finance the purchase of vacant land and the construction of a clubhouse building,” he claimed.

Not the original agreement

But Craig Millar, former yacht commodore, has denied this.

In his affidavit, he said the question of funds had never been raised. “It is bizarre to suggest that between all the clubs members – about 8 000 – money could not be raised to purchase the land and erect the joint clubhouse.”

He said his club was only interested in promoting sailing and not “running a restaurant”, which was the only way the new lease agreement would make financial sense.

He said his club had never waived its rights regarding the 2008 memorandum and what was now offered “doesn’t come close” to the original agreement.

“We do not want to be obstructive and we are not opposed to development…all that is required to resolve this dispute is for the company to talk to us to conclude an amendment, to ensure we are afforded a clubhouse on terms and conditions not inconsistent with the spirit of the memorandum which, at the same time, do not conflict with the proposed development.

“That should not be impossible.”

The Paddle Ski Club has submitted a provisional affidavit aligning itself with the yacht club’s submissions.

An ‘evolved’ plan

On side with the company is Cuane Hall, who is the chairperson of the Durban Undersea Club and also the chairperson of newly created Durban Point Watersports Club.

However, he disagrees with the company’s explanation for the change in the deal from freehold to leasehold.

He said this was because the plan had “evolved significantly”, which entailed the clubhouse would be a multi-level building with a small footprint set back from the beach.

“The company decided that the land under the promenade [with direct access to the beach] would be made available and, together with the clubhouse, would be leased at a highly favourable rate, substantially less than the anticipated market rental.”

Hall proposed an alternative to the “stalemate”, saying the parties should put aside their differences.

The matter is expected to be adjourned for the filing of further papers.

Source: News24

South Africa: School Still Unfinished After Five Years and U.S.$1.2 Million

Photo: Nompendulo Ngubane/GroundUp

Despite being officially opened, Duduzani Primary School in Ntuzuma Township, Durban, has not been completed.

By Nompendulo Ngubane

Despite being officially opened, Duduzani Primary School in Ntuzuma Township, Durban, has not been completed. During the official opening last month, MEC for Education Mthandeni Dlungwane, who said the department had spent R15.9 million building the school, said he was aware the school had problems. He promised that these would be attended to.

A source at the school who wished to remain anonymous said, “There are loose cables in classrooms and electricity goes on and off … It’s not safe.”

There is also only one standpipe to supply water for 1,441 learners. The toilets have not been completed either.

The current principal, Thandi Lushaba, joined the school in 1995. From 1991 to 1995 the children were taught under a tree. In 1995, they moved to prefabricated classrooms made of cardboard and corrugated iron. When it rained, learners went home as the roof leaked. On hot days, the classrooms overheated and classes stopped.

In 2012, construction started on Duduzani Primary School. Teachers and learners occupied the school while it was under construction. Parents and the school governing board (SGB) “worked jointly with us and we made it this far” Lushaba said proudly.

Grade 7 learner Malibongwe Hlongwa said, “I’m happy that I don’t have to worry about the rain anymore.”

Former learner Lindiwe Ntombela said, “We had a few prefabs [before]… The cardboard would be wet when it rained and the heat was extremely unbearable. Teachers would release us because learning could not continue under such conditions.”

Addressing parents and learners during the opening, Dlungwane said there had been problems with the sub-contractor tendered for the construction. The project had to stop and that resulted in a long delay, he said.

Dlungwane said, “In our financial year for 2017/18, we have 481 projects where we are supplying infrastructure to our schools. More than 163 schools are on site [being built] and 31 of them have been completed. Our infrastructure sector is busy building over 600 classrooms to schools in the province.”

When asked about the sub-contractor and the intervention by the department, KwaZulu Natal education spokesperson Kwazi Mthethwa accused GroundUp of trying to politicise the story. He said the only important thing was that the depatment had opened the school and it was functioning. He has stopped responding to GroundUp’s calls.

South Africa

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South Africa: Kwazulu-Natal’s Cancer Crisis Fuels Demand for End of Life Care

Health workers brace for an increased need for palliative care as waiting lists grow.

KwaZulu-Natal has just two public-sector oncologists left. As the province scrambles to recruit new specialists, treatment waiting lists grow and so too does the demand for specialised care for the sick and dying.

Durban lost its last public oncologist in June. The doctor had been one of just three state oncologists left in the province after a flood of resignations, a damning South African Human Rights Commission report into provincial cancer services shows.

Released just days after the Durban doctor’s departure, the document reveals that, on average, the province lost one oncologist each month over a five-month period.

The provincial health department has blamed the exodus of specialists on more lucrative offers from the private sector, but health professionals told the commission that mismanagement was driving specialists away. In a May letter to the department, the South African Medical Association listed cancer services as one of nine public health “crises” that it said provincial health MEC Sibongiseni Dhlomo had failed to address.

In the wake of the most recent resignation, the KwaZulu-Natal health department has continued to recruit new oncologists and contracted private-sector oncologists and radiotherapists to provide treatment at the Inkosi Albert Luthuli Central Hospital, department spokesperson Sam Mkhwanazi said in June. The department did not respond to queries sent this week.

Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi has developed a two-week plan to resuscitate cancer services in the province and the department is working with the provincial treasury on issues such as staffing and procurement, says national health department spokesperson Joe Maila.

‘This never should have happened’

By the time the commission began investigating oncology services in 2016, patients were waiting five months to see an oncologist and eight months or more for radiotherapy, the report shows. Now, health professionals say some patients are being told they will only be seen in 2018.

When nurse Angie Makhanya first met cervical cancer patient Beauty Zulu (46) in June, she was horrified and immediately began drafting a letter to the minister of health.

Zulu was diagnosed with stage- three cervical cancer at the King Edward Hospital in May, two months after she went to her local clinic complaining of pain in her legs.

The clinic referred her to the Inkosi Albert Luthuli Central Hospital for treatment but, owing to backlogs and a lack of doctors, she’ll only start treatment in November.

By that time, it’s likely that Zulu’s cancer will have progressed to stage four, Makhanya says.

Nurse Angie Makhanya was so shocked by the state’s failures that she says she began writing a letter to Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi herself. (Photos: Madelene Cronje)

“This should never have happened,” says Makhanya, who works with the Highway Hospice in Durban.

She visits her home-based patients who are very ill twice a week. Today, she is paying her second visit to Zulu at her home in the Durban suburb of Mayville.

She moves to cover Zulu, who is lying on the couch, with a blanket. A urine drainage bag is visible from under Zulu’s fleece nightgown. “Thank you, sis,” she says almost inaudibly through the pain.

‘You can’t stop death but you can change how it happens’

Cancer can be extremely painful: as malignant tumours grow, they can tear through nerves, organs and even bone and about one in two cancer patients will experience some form of pain, according to a 2007 research review published in the Annals of Oncology journal.

Even treatment is not without its price: radiation can leave patients with a burning sensation and internal scars, and chemotherapy can damage nerves, sending intermittent shooting pains through the body, says United States medical nonprofit the Mayo Clinic.

Whether the cancer is curable or not, palliative care can help patients manage pain and assist with the psychological aspects of serious illness or dying.

South Africa’s public and private sectors are almost entirely dependent on nonprofit hospices and organisations for palliative care services, says Julia Ambler, director of the nonprofit Palliative Treatment for Children (Patch).

With only 19 hospices in the province, KwaZulu-Natal’s cancer crisis may overwhelm its ability to provide palliative care.

“We’re seeing that patients are being discharged without wound dressings or pain medication. Since there are no doctors, there are no follow-up appointments, so hospices will end up providing that service,” says Sarah Fakroodeen, the medical director for the Highway Hospice.

After her diagnosis, Zulu was initially sent home with Tramadol, a mid-level pain drug. She ran out of the medication. With his mother’s next doctor’s appointment only slated for November, Zulu’s son Lindokuhle paid for her to see a private oncologist. He couldn’t afford to pay for private treatment but Lindokuhle was relieved when the oncologist said his mother could get Tramadol for free from the Highway Hospice.

Fakroodeen says she expects walk-ins and referrals to her organisation to increase in the coming months, but warns that many hospices continue to rely on donor funding, a pool of money that is shrinking as people look at cutting costs in hard economic times.

Highway Hospice is one of seven hospices in KwaZulu-Natal that will receive R60 000 each month from the provincial health department, starting in September, as part of a pilot project. A third of the money will go to training public health employees to provide palliative care. The rest will cover only the hospice’s inpatient care and not the home care her staff delivers. She says the department will have to find a way of reaching these patients.

“There needs to be co-ordination between us and the hospitals so that we can do more home visits and see bed-bound patients. The people that are relatively well can go and queue [at hospitals, but] these people are so frail they cannot even get to the hospital.

Hospice workers say patients are being sent home without proper dressings or pain medication as treatment buckles and people increasingly rely on non-profit hospices for care.

In their weekly meeting, Highway Hospice nurses take turns updating Fakroodeen on the sickest of their 600 patients. In a meeting that lasts more than an hour, not one of the 30 patient cases presented does not need pain medication.

But 80km away, at the only hospital that still boasts public-sector oncologists, there is no medicine to treat those in excruciating pain. Grey’s Hospital in Pietermaritzburg is grappling with a stockout of morphine. Although a delivery of the drug was expected on Thursday, the opioid forms an important part of ongoing pain management for the illest patients.

“The thought of all of those patients at home tonight with nothing to help with their pain – it’s unbearable,” says Ambler.

Although there may be alternative pain medication for some adult patients, many – including children – will be left without respite, says Andy Gray, senior pharmacology lecturer at the University of KwaZulu-Natal.

He explains: “Once patients need a strong opiate like morphine, there are very few alternatives.”

And for those for whom help came too late and who cannot be cured, the promise of a pill can at least mean the hope of a good death. Watching a family lose a child is never easy, Ambler says, but it’s not the death that’s the hardest part – it’s the dying.

“If there is no hope and the child is going to die, it’s better you give them hope for a pain-free death, a good end of life, a good last few days or months. You can’t change what’s going to happen, but you can change how it happens.”

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EU Cautions Museveni Over Donor Projects

Photo: Daily Monitor

President Museveni and the First Lady.

By Stephen Wandera

Kampala — The European Union has cautioned President Museveni to go slow on his plans to hurriedly implement donor-funded projects, warning that it could end in shoddy work and increased corruption.

The World Bank and European Union are some of the biggest funders of agriculture and infrastructure projects.

At last week’s World Economic Forum in Durban, South Africa, Mr Museveni criticised international financial agencies funding infrastructure projects in Africa as “unserious”, citing “frivolity” on their part.

Issues

Ambassador Kristian Schmidt, the head of the European Union Delegation in Uganda, (EU) in a rejoinder said whereas the President’s comments were not directed at the EU, they “strictly follow and monitor our projects”. “But what I can say is that if you do not want to follow procurement procedures like tendering, you can sign a contract with one company but you may end up paying four times the market value,” Ambassador Schmidt said last Friday.

Mr Museveni, speaking last Wednesday as the chief panellist at this year’s World Economic Forum on Africa in Durban, South Africa Said: “They (donors) take small things, say tendering; when you go for tendering they bring all sorts of jokers, and then at the same time want same ground field for tenderers; then when the small ones don’t win, then they appeal… .then you find a project taking like five years to start.”

He added: “Why can’t you (financial lending institutions) look for serious groups and [they] are the ones which tender for business instead of wasting time with these jokers. We shall be democratic (in terms of business) later after we have had some of the infrastructures.”

In an interview on the sidelines of a conference on Friday to mark 30 years of EU Erasmus Program me at Uganda Manufactures Association conference hall, Ambassador Schmidt said single-sourcing is a recipe for shoddy work and breeds corruption.

“This is when you find a minister single-handily signing off deals,”he said.

Several huge infrastructure projects in the country, among them the bungled project to upgrade Katosi road in Mukono to bitumen, have been rocked by allegations of corruption.

The programme

Erasmus is the EU’s programme that provides scholarship and grants to students and organisations. Set to last until 2020, it has opportunities for a wide variety of individuals and organisations.

Ambassador Schmidt said since 2004, a total of 89 Ugandans have benefited from the programme and called on more Ugandans to take advantage to benefit from it.

Italian Ambassador Mr Domenco Fornara explained that “Erasmus is a name of a scholar who believed people think freely. As youth you have to take on the future now, not tomorrow.”

Uganda

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South Africa: Durban Company in Court Battle Over ‘Toxic Emissions’ Claims

A company facing criminal prosecution for alleged “toxic emissions” from its landfill site in Shongweni, west of Durban is attempting to silence one of its most vocal critics.

Enviroserve says London-based programme manager Jeremy Everitt, who owns a house near the landfill site in which his sister and nephew live, is waging an “unlawful campaign” against the company.

Its urgent application against Everitt was adjourned in the Durban High Court on Wednesday for further affidavits to be filed.

But Everitt, who has the support of thousands of residents of the Upper Highway area, says he will not be bullied.

Residents have complained about the smells from the site and say their children are suffering from asthma, bronchitis, pneumonia and nose bleeds.

This week, the National Prosecuting Authority confirmed that a decision had been made to prosecute the company for contravening the National Air Quality Act.

Everitt says Enviroserve is the author of its own “reputational damage” and what he is saying is true.

“They want to keep what is happening a secret. While experts debate the causes, fugitive gases spew out, polluting the atmosphere. The company would be best served fully admitting its faults and ceasing operations until the air pollution issue is resolved,” he says in his affidavit.

Everitt maintains the application is not urgent.

Enviroserve first lodged interdict proceedings against Everitt last year.

In response, he made a request through the court for certain documentation which, he says, has not been supplied.

The company claims the matter is a “fishing expedition” and that Everitt is delaying it.

In the meantime, he has refused to give any undertakings that he will stop his campaign and has recently contacted investors, shareholders, customers, SARS and various other organisations which have no interest in the matter, “rabble rousing” about the alleged issues at the landfill site.

Everitt, the company alleges, has latched onto a website run by Upper Highway Air, a non-profit company monitoring the “smell issue” and campaigning for clean air, and is “forwarding it to literally hundreds of recipients”.

Esme Gombault, group technical director, says in her affidavit that the matter had become urgent and an interim interdict was required, because the company was being defamed and losing customers.

Gombault said since August last year, after the Department of Environmental Affairs intervened following complaints by residents, the company had spent about R15m to address “the odour problem”.

She said in January pictures of “plumes” of smoke were posted on the Upper Highway Air website, which Everitt forwarded to an international investor, HarbourVest.

The company denied the plumes were from its site. No combustible material was disposed of there and there were no chemical reactions on the site, it said.

She said environmental affairs department officials had found high hydrogen sulphide measurements on the site. The company was disputing these readings.

In a separate affidavit, the company’s attorney Hendrik Reeders says in correspondence with entities such as SARS and the Financial Services Board, Everitt had attached “highly emotionally-charged photographs from the website, of obviously distressed children using artificial respirators to breathe”.

Reeders said the children were not local because “had they been, the public outrage would have been unmanageable”.

Karla Lott, director of Upper Highway Air, said this was “outrageous”. In her affidavit, she says one of the children is her own child and “they all live in the affected area”.

She says her family have sold their house and moved.

“I cannot live on no sleep and I don’t expect my children to endure the vomiting, respiratory distress and nosebleeds.”

Lott said in January and February, the organisation received about 22 000 complaints.

“Last week, we received five statements from local doctors confirming an increase in respiratory and dermatological impacts. One, a paediatrician, called it a medical emergency.

“We do not publish falsehoods on our website.”

In January this year, thousands of residents from the affected areas took part in a protest march, calling for the closure of the site.

Early last month, the environmental affairs department served the company with a notice to suspend or revoke its licence.

The company claims that the bacteria Desulfovibrio vulgaris is contributing to the stench, but denied it caused health issues.

Source: News24

South Africa: Mashaba ‘Still Pissed Off’ – Businessman Reddy On City Power Investigation

Johannesburg Mayor Herman Mashaba’s investigation into alleged corruption involving the city’s R1bn smart electricity meter tender is just petty politics, businessman Vivian Reddy said.

Reddy is the owner of Edison Power which was awarded the billion rand tender to install smart meters throughout the municipality. The contract has been probed four times in the past by two senior counsels, auditing firm Ernst & Young as well as the Public Protector’s office.

Reddy told News24 that the probe was a waste of money.

“I question the motive, why go and waste taxpayers’ money to look into something that’s already been cleared?” asked Reddy.

Last week, chairperson of City Power Frank Chikane confirmed that the board was asked to submit documents from the contract, along with a few others for a probe. City Power managing director Sicelo Xulu is also under investigation.

Mashaba clashed with former environment and infrastructure member of mayoral committee Anthony Still and fired him over the investigation.

Still told News24 that he supported the investigation, but did not agree with Mashaba on suspending Xulu without following legal processes.

Reddy said Edison Power’s smart meters were hailed as a success.

“The smart meters increased the City of Joburg’s revenue collection by over R1bn as acknowledged by [former mayor] Parks Tau,” Reddy told News24.

He said he believed Mashaba’s investigation was sparked by their past interactions during the construction of Sibaya Casino in Durban.

The businessman, who is said to have close ties to President Jacob Zuma, said he hoped Mashaba’s investigation was not about settling personal business vendettas dating to a time before Mashaba became mayor.

“He tried to get a job in an unethical manner from me in the past, I think he is still pissed off,” said Reddy.

Mashaba dismissed the claims. He told News24 the two have never done business together.

“It must be in his dreams,” said Mashaba.

But Reddy insisted the mayor was lying.

“He came to Durban and met with me in his capacity as a representative of a big construction company and made the offer,” Reddy said.

Mashaba said a person who has not erred has nothing to worry about.

“I don’t know why people feel worried, if they have done nothing wrong then there is nothing to worry about,” said the Joburg mayor.

Mashaba said he didn’t want to be complicit in the previous administration’s wrongdoings.

“[To] anyone expecting me to trust reports of the previous administration, I am not going to do that, especially when I keep receiving new evidence,” he said.

Mashaba said nothing would stop his investigation from going ahead.

“They must accept and understand that this investigation will happen, I am not saying they will be found guilty, but no one is going to stop this investigation,” he said.

Reddy maintained that Mashaba would find nothing in his probe and said that claims of “new evidence” were just a smokescreen.

“There is nothing to find, I will not lose a second of sleep over the investigation,” Reddy said.

News24

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