Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Pot is called biggest cash crop

SACRAMENTO — For years, activists in the marijuana legalization movement have claimed that cannabis is America's biggest cash crop. Now they're citing government statistics to prove it.

A report released today by a marijuana public policy analyst contends that the market value of pot produced in the U.S. exceeds $35 billion — far more than the crop value of such heartland staples as corn, soybeans and hay, which are the top three legal cash crops.

California is responsible for more than a third of the cannabis harvest, with an estimated production of $13.8 billion that exceeds the value of the state's grapes, vegetables and hay combined — and marijuana is the top cash crop in a dozen states, the report states...

LA Times with video

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Smell of R2m dagga was a giveaway

Dagga worth about R2-million - concealed at the back of a truck believed to be owned by a Soweto man - has been discovered.

The 35-year-old driver, believed to be from Cape Town, was arrested by the Free State border police, but his accomplice fled the scene and is still on the run...

The Star

Leonardo Dicaprio - asks questions

I’m an actor, environmentalist and board member of Global Green USA and the NRDC. In 1998 I founded the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation to foster awareness of environmental issues.

I'm becoming increasingly concerned that the impact of people on the planet is threatening our clean air to breathe, clean water to drink and the stable climate we live in... Yahoo! Answers

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Vagrant high veld turned into fragrant green zone

The Tshwane Metro Police are helping to reclaim a green area in Centurion for the birds, putting an end to the dagga-growing activities of local vagrants.

The Metro Police were alerted to the problem by Tshwane Nature Conservation that was recently granted control of the site. The area, on the corner of John Vorster and Nellmapius drives in Highveld, Centurion, is being transformed into a bird sanctuary called Findle Park.

Having long been a hide-out for vagrants, the situation turned dangerous when a group of 30 vagrants started stoning nature conservation workers tasked with clearing the area.

Tshwane nature conservationist Natalie Vos said they received complaints from their workers about the hostile vagrants. On further investigation the dagga plantation was found, which spanned more than a hectare. Pretoria News

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Swazi Gold set to ease growing poverty

A fundamental shift in Swaziland's attitude towards hemp, or dagga, the country's most lucrative cash crop, could be on the horizon.

The government is set to allow small-scale production of hemp to see if it has the potential to become an economically viable crop.

"In hemp we have an alternative to cotton, which has let us down badly over the past few years. It has been because of marijuana that we have found it difficult to talk about hemp, but that is changing, and we are beginning to shape public opinion to its benefits," said Lufto Dlamini, the Swazi Minister for Enterprise and Employment.

"The government is considering a proposal to grow hemp, and a decision will be reached by the end of this month. But I expect it will be given the go-ahead to grow for research purposes, and if that proves successful then we will see," he said.

'People are getting the idea that hemp can be used for purposes other than smoking'
Falling global prices for sugar and cotton, Swaziland's traditional crops, have led to dagga becoming "Swazi Gold" for many of the country's population, most of whom live on less than R7.20 a day.

According to the government's Annual Vulnerability Monitoring Report 2005, cotton prices have fallen steadily over the past few years as a result of international competition and last year's price for cotton was about 33 percent lower than the previous year.

A similar fate has befallen the sugar industry. The European Union plans to slash its price to suppliers in African, Caribbean and Pacific Least Developing Countries by 37 percent from the start of 2007 to bring it in line with the global price, causing the profits of Swazi producers to shrink significantly.

Dr Ben Dlamini, 70, a former education administrator in the Swazi Department of Education, was one of the first people to talk about the potential benefits of hemp production.

"The major emphasis on cannabis in Swaziland has always been on smoking it, but if we were to grow hemp commercially it would solve a lot of problems. It can be used to manufacture fuels, textiles, healthy oils and lotions," he said.

"People are getting the idea that hemp can be used for purposes other than smoking, but the process of understanding this is very slow."

Simon Mavimbela, 21, and Justice Dlamini, 26, have lived all their lives in Hhohho, in the north of the country, the main area for cultivating cannabis, where many people risk growing the illegal plant rather than other cash crops like maize or peanuts.

While both young men insisted that they did not grow cannabis themselves, they admitted that friends and members of their families had grown the plant for generations.

"People here will get around R80 for a 10kg bag of maize when they sell it at the market, but they will get R3 000 for a 10kg bag of cannabis if they can sell it to someone who is going to take it outside of Swaziland," Dlamini explained.

"A person can grow 30 10kg bags in a year up in the hills here, and they use the money to buy cows, furniture, send their children to school.

"We are in a good situation because our fathers grew dagga, so we could afford to go to school, have clothes and other benefits."

According to Dlamini, the only difference between growing cannabis and any other crop is that they have to avoid detection by the police by locating the plantations in inaccessible areas.

"If they are lucky, people from South Africa come and give them the money to start up. They then take the stuff through holes in the boarder fence into South Africa." - Tribune Foreign Correspondent

Monday, November 20, 2006

9 die in W Cape Fires

Nine people died in fires across the province amid sweltering heat and strong winds at the weekend.

At least 60 people were left homeless by the fires.

Blazes in informal settlements were the biggest headache for fire services, Cape Town fire chief Sebastian Martin said on Monday. Cape Argus

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Millions claimed after police burn Africannabis crop

PRETORIA – A businessman from Brits and a Menlo Park company have instituted a damages claim for more than R5,8 million against Safety and Security Minister Charles Nqakula, after police arrested the man and destroyed his “scientific” dagga crop.

Transvaal Deputy Judge President Jerry Shongwe granted leave to businessman Russel de Beer and the company Leading Prospect Trading to proceed with legal action for unlawful arrest and delictual damages, despite them not giving timeous notice of their claim.

According to court papers, the police raided De Beer’s farm at Kameeldrift, near Brits, in February 2004, arrested him and destroyed his crops, stock and seeds.

This was despite the fact that he had been cultivating cannabis in collaboration with the Agricultural Research Council under permits issued by the Health Department since 2002, and had in fact developed a new variety of cannabis for industrial use.

De Beer was in the process of registering intellectual property rights in respect of the new variety locally and internationally, and had negotiated local and international contracts for the supply and cultivation of hemp when his crop was destroyed.

He was prosecuted for unlawful cultivation and dealing in a prohibited substance, but was acquitted.

Leading Prospect Trading, which owned the crop, is claiming R3,6 million damages, and De Beer more than R2,2 million for the injury to his good name and reputation, legal costs, loss of income and intellectual property rights and a loss of profits. Citizen Pretoria News IOL

Friday, November 03, 2006

Dagga growing under noses of police

Hout Bay residents may be forgiven for believing the government has finally heeded calls to legalise dagga.

A flower bed in the middle of a traffic circle, in front of the Hout Bay police station, has provided fertile soil for a couple of marijuana plants that have mysteriously cropped up among the blooming vygies.

The dagga doesn't seem to be too high on the city council's agenda either, as workers continue to water them without noticing.

The plants were discovered by a landscaper, Tim Lundy, while working on the flower bed last week.

"Being a landscaper, I see these growing all over the place. You won't believe how many people grow it. A person must have been smoking weed and thrown down his stompie (in the flower bed). It's a few metres from the police station. And the council also happens to water the island."

Hout Bay police station commander Dirk Smit wouldn't believe it when told about the plants, and insisted the Cape Times was "pulling a prank" on him.

The interview didn't end on a high note. He hung up. Cape Times

Monday, October 30, 2006

SWAZILAND: Illegal cannabis could become legal 'Swazi Gold'

(IRIN) - A fundamental shift in Swaziland's attitude towards the cannabis plant, or hemp, the country's most lucrative cash crop, could be on the horizon. The government is set to allow small-scale production of hemp to see if it has the potential to become an economically viable crop.

"In hemp we have an alternative to cotton, which has let us down badly over the last few years. It has been because of marijuana that we have found it difficult to talk about hemp, but that is changing, and we are beginning to shape public opinion to its benefits," said Lufto Dlamini, the Swazi Minister for Enterprise and Employment.

"The government is considering a proposal to grow hemp, and a decision will be reached by the end of this month. But I expect it will be given the go-ahead to grow for research purposes, and if that proves successful then we will see," he told IRIN.

Falling global prices for sugar and cotton, Swaziland's traditional crops, have led to cannabis, or 'dagga' as it is known locally, becoming 'Swazi Gold' for many of the country's impoverished population, most of whom live on less than US$1 a day.

According to the government's Annual Vulnerability Monitoring Report 2005, cotton prices have fallen steadily over the past few years as a result of international competition and last year's price for cotton was about 33 percent lower than the previous year.

A similar fate has befallen the sugar industry. The European Union plans to slash its price to suppliers in African, Caribbean and Pacific Least Developing Countries by 37 percent from the start of 2007 to bring it in line with the global price, causing the profits of Swazi producers to shrink significantly.

The ongoing decline of these major contributors to the agriculture sector, which is faltering as a whole, have led to widespread job losses and left many Swazis with no means of putting food on the table other than subsistence farming, including cannabis growing.

Swaziland's climate and soil are conducive to growing cannabis and the plant has been grown for many centuries, either for export or for use locally as a stimulant.

In the past four years an increasing number of entrepreneurs have suggested that the large-scale production of hemp would go a long way to counteracting poverty.

Dr Ben Dlamini, 70, a former education administrator in the Swazi Department of Education, was one of the first people to talk about the potential benefits of hemp production.

"The major emphasis on cannabis in Swaziland has always been on smoking it and getting a 'high', but if we were to grow hemp commercially it would solve a lot of problems. It can be used to manufacture fuels, textiles, healthy oils and lotions," he pointed out.

"People are getting the idea that hemp can be used for purposes other than smoking, but the process of understanding this is very slow."

Simon Mavimbela, 21, and Justice Dlamini, 26, have lived all their lives in Hhohho, in the north of the country, the main area for cultivating cannabis, where many people risk growing the illegal plant rather than other cash crops like maize or peanuts.

While both young men insisted that they did not grow cannabis themselves, they admitted that friends and members of their families had grown the plant for generations.

"People here will get around R80 [about US$11] for a 10kg bag of maize when they sell it at the market, but they will get R3,000 [about $405] for a 10kg bag of cannabis if they can sell it to someone who is going to take it outside of Swaziland," Dlamini explained.

"A person can grow 30 10kg bags in a year up in the hills here, and they use the money to buy cows, furniture, send their children to school. We are in a good situation because our fathers grew dagga, so we could afford to go to school, have clothes and other benefits."

According to Dlamini, the only difference between growing cannabis and any other crop is that they have to avoid detection by the police by locating the plantations in inaccessible areas.

"If they are lucky, people from South Africa come and give them the money to start up, and then come back and buy the cannabis after it has been harvested. They then take the stuff through holes in the boarder fence into South Africa. You have to be very careful, though, because the police are always around - people do all their crop-work early in the mornings, so that the police will not see what they are up to."

In 2005 the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime estimated that the global illegal trade in cannabis was worth $142bn and listed Swaziland as one of the major producers in southern and eastern Africa. IRIN NEWS

SWAZILAND: Fighting a losing battle against cannabis growers

(IRIN) - You can smell the plant's sweet, peppery scent as it wafts through the Swazi bush in the mid-morning heat long before you see it.

After a 5km trek through the rugged terrain and tangled foliage that covers much of the country's northern Hhohho region, the unit of 30 police officers finally scrambled into a clearing.

Standing over six feet tall, row upon row of what they were looking for stretched out before them: hundreds of cannabis plants, also known as 'dagga' in this region, with the tools of the trade - shovels, plastic sheets and watering cans - scattered around its fringes; the growers were nowhere to be seen.

While it appeared to be a large find, the head of Swaziland's anti-drug unit, Supt Albert Mkhatshwa, who accompanied the search-and-destroy operation, maintained that such plantations were nothing out of the ordinary.

"This is just dagga being grown by some of the villagers close by. We will spray it with weed killer and the plants will be dead in a day or so, but if we come back in a month's time it is likely more will be growing in the same spot.

"The people know we don't have the necessary resources to cover the whole area, so they will take a chance that we will not come back soon. People have been growing herbal cannabis for a long time in Swaziland, long before it was illegal," he said.

Swaziland's climate and soil are conducive to growing the plant, and the people have known and used it for hundreds of years. However, over the last decade the combination of international demand and extreme poverty - about 70 percent of the country's one million people live on US$2 or less a day - has led to widespread cultivation.

The crop is grown in such large quantities that the United Nations Drug Control Programme has listed the country, which covers only 17,363sq.km, as one of the main cannabis-growing areas in southern Africa. The latest Interpol statistics estimate that east and southern Africa supplied 9 percent of the global $142 billion cannabis trade in 2004, with the region's major producers being identified as Lesotho, Malawi, South Africa, Swaziland and Tanzania.

'Swazi Gold' cannabis is internationally known for its potency - users experience a mild hallucinogenic affect when they ingest or smoke it - and consequently it is a highly sought after commodity in neighbouring South Africa as well as Europe.

An almost insatiable worldwide demand for the substance has attracted international crime syndicates to the country to fund and organise the large-scale production of dagga by locals.

According to South Africa's Institute for Security Studies (ISS), a regional think-tank, the financial proceeds are then used to fund other illegal activities.

"Of the cannabis that is harvested, the best quality is earmarked for compression into one- or two-kilogram blocks that are smuggled via South Africa and Mozambique to Europe and the UK [United Kingdom]," said a recent ISS report on Swaziland's cannabis trade.

"Nigerian criminal networks have moved into the dominant position in the Swazi cannabis trade during the past few years, and the proceeds of their sales in Europe are used to pay for cocaine purchased in South America, which is then smuggled to South Africa and elsewhere."

After consulting police experts in Swaziland and the European Union (EU), the ISS revealed that growers at the point of sale in Swaziland received between $45 and $52 per kilogram, depending on quality. However, once the narcotic has reached the EU's streets its retail value is about 140 times that amount, with high-quality Swazi Gold fetching as much as US$7,600 a kilogram in the UK.

So far, the limited success of the Swazi police in controlling the illegal trade has coincided with locating the plants before they were harvested. Once compressed and packaged, consignments are taken into neighbouring countries using back roads, or simply through holes cut in the border fence, which are "notoriously difficult to monitor," said Supt Mkhatshwa.

The successes in the field were largely due to assistance given by the South African and United States governments, both of which provided specialised equipment, such as helicopters and off-road vehicles, to help the anti-drug units locate plantations grown in areas not easily accessible by road.

South Africa recently withdrew its assistance, leaving the Swazi police to tackle the problem with the meagre resources at their disposal.

South African Police spokesperson Ronan Naidoo said the South African government had assisted the Swazi police with aerial surveys and crop spraying aircraft in the past, but co-operation on operations was no longer in place because of escalating costs. "There have been many joint operations, but they have to involve a joint covering of the expenses involved for them to continue," he told IRIN.

Swaziland, ruled by King Mswati III, sub-Sahara's last absolute monarch, saw its economy contract from 2.1 percent growth, last year to 1.8 percent this year, while the population increased by 2.9 percent, the central bank said in a report to the government this month.

Consequently, Supt Mkhatshwa now dispatches his anti-drug units into dense bush and mountainous areas on foot, with nothing more than a container of weed killer on their backs and a spray gun in their hands.

"I send men into the bush to survey the areas for the dagga plantations and once they find a sizable crop a larger group goes back and sprays the area. We are doing this every two weeks, but it is not having much impact.

"A couple of years ago the South Africans did aerial surveys for us over the inaccessible regions, and when they found plantations they either sprayed them from the air or flew us in to spray them. This co-operation enabled us to rid ourselves of large amounts of dagga growing in areas that take a full day to get to by foot," he said.

The latest statistics compiled by the Swazi anti-drug unit show that in the first seven months of this year 2,407kg of compressed cannabis was seized, and a further 356.5ha of cannabis plantations were destroyed.

"If we were able to do real surveys we would be able to destroy lots more than we have done. It is so difficult to reach the plantations in the mountainous areas. Often times they are so large that we are not able to carry enough chemicals to spray all the plants. Unless we get help, this [problem] will become extremely difficult to control," he said.


Friday, October 27, 2006

Stranded and stoned:

Tens of thousands of Capetonians were left stranded, buses were stoned and at least three commuters injured as protests by taxi drivers entered a second day on Friday.

There was widespread stoning of Golden Arrow buses as residents of Khayelitsha, Crossroads and Nyanga queued for hours - often in vain - for alternative transport into the city, Bellville and east towards Somerset West.

A large police contingent descended on the suburbs and arterial routes shortly before dawn, but the stoning continued. Cape Argus

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Habitat Research

“Research makes no difference to the human habitat environment unless it is translated into policy, practice, promotion and products,”

70 Actionable Ideas - World Urban Forum

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Fishhoek blaze leaves 300 families homeless

More than 300 families were left homeless on Thursday after fires ravaged an informal settlement in Fishhoek, Cape Town local disaster management said.

Spokesperso Craig Pillay said fire-fighters responded to a reported fire at Masiphulele township at about 2am.

"The fire department responded in 10 minutes and managed to put blazes under control."

No injuries were reported and the cause of the fire was unknown.

"We have contacted NGOs to assist the victims. The Red Cross would provide blankets and the Salvation Army would provide warm meals," Pillay said.

He said the city council would provide shelter to the affected families. - Sapa

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

AfriCAN HOUSEIT - Cape Town's - Shack Towns

Google Earth view of Cape Town's informal settlements

View the web based option from here: Google Maps Shacks

Open this Placemark

If you have Google Earth installed.

Download Google Earth free here: http://earth.google.com/

(Please note this program is not suited for older computers)

Monday, October 16, 2006

Cape fires kill, leave hundreds homeless

A three-year-old girl died and more than 130 people were left homeless after fires ravaged two informal settlements in the Western Cape on Saturday and Sunday, the SABC reported.

On Saturday, the child was killed and more than 60 people were left homeless after 15 shacks were destroyed in Wallacedene, near Kraaifontein.

On Sunday, the SABC reported that a second fire had surged through Joe Slovo Park, near Milnerton, leaving more than 70 residents of 29 dwellings homeless but unhurt.

Cape Town disaster management spokesperson Wilfred Solomon said that the cause of the fires was not known.

He said they were providing the necessary relief, accommodation, blankets and food as well as building materials to both communities. - Sapa

Monday, September 18, 2006

Fire leaves scores homeless in Khayelitsha

About 75 people have been left homeless after a fire razed their shacks in Khayelitsha on the Cape Flats early this morning.

A spokesperson for Fire and Rescue says more than 28 shacks were destroyed. No deaths or injuries have been reported. The cause of the fire is being investigated. SABC

Monday, September 11, 2006

New links to Cannabis brick demonstrations

Please see the links on the left to MMM 2003 -2005: A new page will open for each link.

Details for cannabrick construction can be found here on Houseit or at InternAfrica

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Boy dabbling with dagga, sentenced to gang rape

A FEW days later, Wimpie, a white boy who was dabbling with dagga, is put in our cell. I don’t know how old he really is, perhaps 16 or more, but he looks no older than 14, with skinny arms and short, spiky-crowned, brown hair.

The 28 gang give him a chocolate bar in the morning and it’s obvious what his eating of it preludes. Still, it is strange how even the minds of paedophilic rapists seem to demand some sort of mechanism by which they can excuse their crimes. They’ve given him a chocolate bar and they are going to enjoy having him repay the kindness.

It isn’t meant for Wimpie to be spending the evening in a cell full of libido-possessed 28s, but the warders took care of that. They know what to do to keep the prisoners happy.

The night it happens, I am in a cell with 80 men. What I am about to witness will make ridiculous the notion that someone can be safer in a crowd.

Three-quarters of the men do not want to be part of this, or they are excluded. The other 20, they know one another, and begin the sick game with the boy. He is cocky and tells them to leave him alone.

“What are you doing?”

He tries to fight, and so they hit him. His resistance stops abruptly when one grabs the back of his head and smashes his face into the steel bars ...

The boy has been in prison for weeks now, but this is his first moment of true captivity.

The 20 take it in turns to rape him. It goes on for more than eight hours, almost the whole night. The boy does everything he can, in his pathetic, limited range of action, to try to deter them, but he is ignored. He screams, he cries, he begs, he tries to bargain, he prays.

He is ignored ... Bück dich (Bend Over)

It is in the morning, though, that I am forced to see what life has coughed up before me. What’s left of Wimpie is lying in a corridor between the bunks, just in front of my bed. He is still naked, shivering in a pool of his own blood where they have discarded him. I will literally have to step over the small body to go and eat my breakfast. I am about to do just that, too, when I look him in the eyes.

All of the racist hate and hardness of my heart seems cheap. Is it important where a victim is born, where he went to school, whether or not his ethnicity gave him advantages denied others, or whether or not he is white or black?

In suffering, we are all the same.

How can I step over this cosmically battered body, and sit down to breakfast? How can anyone?

Right there, in that dismal space, with other men’s clothing strewn about on rusting beds, beside bars with psoriatic, peeling paint, I am alone with this boy’s pain.

I no longer know how I can continue to live. I have no more answers, and I am tired of all the old questions too.

The Gayton McKenzie Story Sunday times : Redemption

Monday, August 28, 2006

Toddlers burn to death in Cape fire

Two toddlers, aged one and three, have been burnt to death in one of the fires that had devastated various parts of Cape Town this weekend. Full Story...

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Babylonian legacy - A Hard day in the home of spin

In 2004 our esteemed premier launched a social works program that was to provide jobs and reticulation for development.

Funds for this project, were diverted to housing the victims of the Joe Slovo 3rd large fire.

Housing was put on hold for housing…

Then the N2 gateway happened, bad plans, project outsourced to a non-local organization, and two keys delivered.

3 years, since the last public works spin by the Premier – housing has done nothing but deliver temporary shelter at the same cost as it would have cost to resolve the situation.

Then clearly there was something in it for someone in the N2 Gateway development…

It would appear we are back at square one three years later…

I’m sure I’ve read this before…

Good times roll on in building industry

Friday, August 18, 2006

Seattle hempfest

The oozing abscess of Cape society – picking on the homeless

Three 19-year-olds accused of murdering a man in the Tygerberg area said in the Bellville regional court on Thursday that they "kicked and punched him because he was homeless".

Klaas Thomas, a homeless man from Ridgeworth, died of his injuries in Tygerberg Hospital on April 19, 2004... Cape Times

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Flood-damge bill continues to rise

While figures for the flood damage to the Southern Cape are four times higher than those given initially, Premier Ebrahim Rasool has reiterated that the region will not be declared a disaster area.

Speaking on Tuesday during a legislative assembly debate, Rasool said that, while initial estimates had hovered around R80-million, the latest figure was R353-million.

The Southern Cape was ravaged by floods when it was struck by a cut-off low pressure system with heavy rains and gale-force winds.

Rasool said the Eden district and parts of the Klein Karoo had "borne the brunt" of the floods. The Overberg and Winelands had also received considerable damage.

The damage to private property came to about R150m, roads and bridges R51m and rail damage was about R25m. Agriculture had suffered about R40m in losses - a figure that was growing. IOL

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

PE residents say they are neglected after floods

Residents in the low lying area of Chatty in Port Elizabeth say they still have not received any help from the municipality almost after two weeks since the devastating floods destroyed many parts of the city.

A metro spokesperson says that they are dealing with the situation area by area.
But they confirmed that they have not yet visited Chatty despite it being one of the hardest hit.

Residents say they are desperate for any kind of help. The only aid has come from the Red Cross and local business.

Meetings have been held to find alternative land for those who have been displaced. A report tabled by a metro special council meeting estimates flood damage in the metro to be as much as R120 million. - SABC

Cape power outages cost businesses R1 billion

Business in Cape Town says the recent electricity crisis in the Western Cape has cost them about R1 billion. This emerged at a function where Alec Erwin, the public enterprises minister, Thulani Gcabashe, the Eskom CEO, and Ebrahim Rasool, the premier, thanked business and consumers for their support during the electricity recovery process. - SABC

Monday, August 14, 2006

Mother dies in Oudtshoorn shack fire

A woman died and her daughter was injured when their shack caught fire on an Oudtshoorn farm on Sunday, Western Cape police said. The woman, 31, was sleeping in the shack with her husband and two children when the fire started about 1am, said Captain Malcolm Pojie on Monday.

“The husband woke up and discovered that the shack was on fire and took the children out.
“When he returned to save his wife the fire had already covered the shack and he could not get in,” said Pojie.

Their 10-year-old daughter sustained severe burn wounds on her arms, hands and legs.
The cause of the fire was not known. – Sapa.

City's housing crisis "almost insurmountable" - Mayor

At last from Helen's lips to Gods Ear ... the truth is spoke:

Mayor Helen Zille warned recently of large-scale land invasions if the housing backlog was not addressed, saying the city's housing crisis was "almost insurmountable".

However those of you who read this blog with regularity will know that by building an EcoHome from the industrial cannabis South Africa has so much of.

These Green Building carry the highest available LEED rating, and they lessen the city foot print in development and delivering Homes - by building your own

Cannabrick Home

Thursday, August 10, 2006

SA floods - more to come?

According to the South African Weather Service, more cold weather is expected in the Southern and Eastern Cape in the next few days, which raises concerns in the South African Red Cross Society about the safety of communities left vulnerable after last week's torrential rain.

The downpours and flooding were experienced in the Southern and Eastern Cape from 31 July to 3 August 2006. During this time, at least five people died, one a four-year-old child and 14 were declared missing. 50 communities were left stranded and more than 1000 people were forced to evacuate their informal settlement homes to escape the rising flood waters.

The predictions of further bad weather, although indicating that the rain will be much less severe than last week, still raises concerns at The South African Red Cross Society for the vulnerable communities still trying to rebuild their lives after last week's floods. Reuters

Friday, August 04, 2006

Shack Floodlands

Saving lives: Professional and volunteer rescue services worked together to rescue dozens of people across flooded Port Elizabeth and Uitenhage. Photo: Steve Lawrence, The Star.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Toddler killed in shack fire

A two-year-old girl burnt to death on Thursday after her mother left her locked in a shack with a paraffin stove on, emergency management services said.

Spokesperson Malcolm Midgley said the girl's mother had visited neighbours at 8am. When she returned, her shack was engulfed in fire.

"When firefighters got to the scene, the shack had already collapsed and the baby was dead," he said.

It was not yet clear whether the mother would be charged.

Midgley said the Alexandra toddler's death was the third fire-related death in two days, all in shack fires.

On Wednesday, two children were burnt to death in separate incidents in Johannesburg.

A boy, 8, was burnt to death while sleeping with his parents in a shack in Lombardy East and a two-year-old toddler was killed when a shack caught fire in Ivory Park. - Sapa

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Black Congo Cannabis Can Help

I've heard of the wonder of the Congo Cannabis, it's resilience to mold and rot.

The beauty of a plant and a people so pure in a country of so much wealth human, natural and mineral, the potential without clothing to do all that is necessary to make a point.

"I can't harm you"

There are many pictures - DEPICTING - the injustice, and a clear - peacefull - demonstration by young and old. None that speak like this.

I am Naked - you are armed.

My thoughts and hopes and prayers are with the Congo at this time - the Heart of Africa!

Big Up Sunday Times!

it appears South African 'peace keepers' are NOT HELPING the situation:

SA peacekeepers ‘an embarrassment’

Shocking figures were released during a workshop organised by the SANDF’s operational law directorate in Tshwane this week. More than half of the military violations — committed between 2002 and this year — involved absence without leave, disobeying lawful commands and drunkenness. A further 230 serious criminal cases, including assault, indecent assault, theft, rape and murder, were tried in the military courts in Burundi, the DRC and South Africa.

"It brings shame and dishonour to the efforts of the military in making a contribution in war-torn countries. There is a direct link between alcohol abuse and the crimes committed"

Monday, July 24, 2006

"Democracy has been subverted and this will lead to chaos,"

South Africans give far too much power to the office of the president without any checks and balances to ensure that these powers are not abused.

This observation was made by Sipho Seepe, a political analyst and head of Henley Management College, during a workshop in Durban at the weekend to debate the "prerogative" powers conferred by the constitution on the president and the premiers of the provinces.

Addressing the workshop, organised by the Democratic Professionals Association of Southern Africa, Seepe said the "crisis" had begun in 1997 when the ANC gave the power to its president to appoint premiers, directors-general of departments and the mayors of major municipalities won by the party.

"Dictators will kill for these powers. I warned long ago about the dangers of the centralisation of powers which removes checks and balances," Seepe said.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Forty families left homeless

Forty families were left homeless when their shacks were razed by fire on Saturday morning, Durban police said.

Inspector Rani John said the fire was sparked by a candle in one of the shacks at Quarry road informal settlement outside Durban.

"Forty shacks were burnt down at 2am on Saturday but no one was injured."

"The local councillor was contacted and together with other locals managed to supply food, clothing and temporary shelter to the affected people," she said. - Sapa

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Woodstock squatters defy city council

Squatters legally evicted from a Woodstock, Cape Town, premises the city council leased to the unregistered Al Noor orphanage, have moved onto an adjacent sports field in Mountain Road.

The five families, including 16 children, now live in tents donated to them by the community and hang their rain-drenched blankets and clothing on the surrounding fence.

One little girl, who stays in a tent with her parents and sister, was given a birthday cake on Wednesday by a couple from the neighbourhood. Cape Times

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

An innocent man died because an abscess in society has burst open

Farmers blamed for Loots' death;

Rawsonville - A new body for farm workers has put the blame for the death of rugby player Riaan Loots squarely on the way farmers in the Rawsonville area treat their employees.

Before Ben Zimri, 26, of Ceres and Wayne Matthee, 19, of Paarl, were released on Tuesday, they were ordered to appear in the magistrate's court again on September 8.

They have been charged with murder after the death of 24-year-old Loots.

Loots, the star flyhalf of the Rawsonville Rugby Club, died after a match between Delicious of Ceres and Rawsonville on June 23, during which he was hit in the throat in a stiff-arm tackle and then apparently kicked in the head.

Henry Gouws, chairperson of a new co-ordinating body for farmworkers which was founded on Tuesday at Stellenbosch, said an innocent man had died because an abscess in society had burst open.

Human-rights violations

"Farmers must ask themselves honestly: 'What was my contribution to the death of young Riaan? How do I treat my people and the people around me?' "

Gouws, who is also spokesperson for the Amwa farmworkers' union, said most of the complaints from farmworkers came from this area, and they were mainly about human rights violations.

He referred to a series of incidents, including one in which a farm manager from the area allegedly assaulted a woman farm worker.

When she wanted to lay a charge against him, he apparently threatened to evict her from the farm.

He claims the same manager also assaulted a young boy so severely that the child had to spend a day in hospital.

"The people go to the rugby field burning with frustration," he said.

"An abscess burst open and an innocent man had to pay the price for the deeds of others."

Farm evictions criticised

Die Burger

Sucksess - "The homeless are sick and tired of excuses"

The obstacles of this project - national Housing Minister Lindiwe Sisulu.

As a steady stream of luxury cars passed the crowd bound for the formal celebrations, the cries of “Sisulu is lying” and “Down with the ANC” grew louder.

Many of the hopeful residents had taken a day off work to receive their houses.

Cape Times

Sunday, July 16, 2006


CNN today announced its broadest ever focus on Africa with the official launch of ‘Eye on Africa’ in Johannesburg, a dedicated week-long initiative that spotlights the current developments and potential for hope taking place across the African continent.

The week of July 16-22, 2006 promises to provide the global viewer with a comprehensive view on the emerging Africa and the potential for hope on this vast continent.

Friday, July 14, 2006

Majority of poor people live on R20 a day

While some people spend more than R20 a day on breakfast alone, people in half of South Africa's households live on R20 or less a day.

This is according to a study by Eighty20, based on official statistics published by Statistics SA in Pretoria.

The study, reported in Business Report on Thursday, found that people in 5.2-million households were living on less than R20 each a day.

'It's painful to see them'

It also showed that 1.3-million households in rural areas and 990 000 urban households were unable to meet daily food needs. Pretoria News


All Housing MECs are expected to be present when Sisulu launches phase two of the N2 Gateway project in Langa next week.

Against the backdrop of a fraud and corruption case being played out where previous MECs developed without thinking...

Thursday, July 13, 2006

The Rurality of Cape Urbanism

The danger posed by stray animals to motorists is to feature in community meetings law enforcement agencies are to hold to make the N2's "hell run" safer.

"This is part of an overall plan to secure the freeway. We will have three mini imbizos with the residents of Delft, Wesbank and Khayelitsha to talk to them about safety on the N2. We want people also to be sensitised about the danger of stray animals," community safety spokesperson Makhaya Mani said.

His comments followed two incidents. On Monday, a Durbanville advocate struck a stray horse on a road parallel to the N2.

Janene Rheeder, the prosecutor in the murder case of designer Richard Bloom and his friend Brett Goldin, was treated for whiplash and other injuries.

On Tuesday a Metro police patrol vehicle was stoned. Cape Times

Calculating Housing Soccer...

The Total: R21 Billion will be sponsored by private enterprise.

If the private sector could mobalise the same amount of money for housing -

South Africa could RESOLVE the housing backlog in the Western Cape 3xOver!

When we...

Build from an appropriate affordable
proven green construction technology

  • South Africa - Is the 3rd largest producer of Industrial Cannabis in the World!

We have the crop to resolve the housing backlog!

Mamma says look - a solution

Govt struggling to cope with housing demand - Minister Lindiwe Sisulu Business Day, South Africa - Oct 14, 2005

Sisulu appealed to the private sector and construction companies to help the government solve the housing crisis.

Rapid urbanisation 'a serious problem'

...Sisulu could not say how much of the government's housing money is lost to corruption...

She rejected the idea of turning dagga plants into bricks as a cheaper alternative to building materials.

"It's a very cooling method of building a house, (sic Energy Effecient) but not what we advocate." -- SAPA

Read M&G article

& re the world’s happiest country

“A place which is not a consumer-driven society. Life here is about community and family and goodwill to other people. It’s a place where you don’t worry too much.”

The Happy Planet Index, compiled by the British think-tank New Economics Foundation.

The index combines life satisfaction, life expectancy and environmental footprint — the amount of land required to sustain the population and absorb its energy consumption.

Lower down the list…

156. South Africa.

167 Botswana

171 Lesotho

175 Democratic Republic of Congo

176 Burundi

177 Swaziland

178 Zimbabwe - Bottom of the list.

Read More to find out who the winner is…

Poor quality housing for shack dwellers

Thousands of shack and plastic structure dwellers of a squatter camp in Limpopo are looking forward to moving into their new RDP homes. However, most of the houses are incomplete, while some are of poor quality. - SABC


Mossel Bay RDP houses fall apart

Residents of KwaNonqaba township in Mossel Bay, who received Reconstruction and Development (RDP) houses 10 years ago, are today living in homes which are cracking and leaking, thanks to the legacy of poor workmanship and fly-by-night contractors during the first years of providing houses for the poor after 1994.

For years, the responsibility of who should fix the ramshackle houses has been passed backwards and forwards between the Mossel Bay Municipality and the provincial department of housing. - SABC

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Police Stoned!

Faceless attackers have stoned a police patrol vehicle on the N2 Cape Town bound despite safety measures having been stepped up on the notorious "hell run". Full Story...

Three killed in Joburg shack fire

Three people, including an eight-year-old boy and his parents, have been killed in a shack fire in Lombardy East, north of Johannesburg.

Malcolm Midgely, the Johannesburg emergency services spokesperson, says the fire started at two this morning at an informal settlement, but firefighters were notified too late. When they arrived at the scene, the shack was completely destroyed and the family had been killed.

Meanwhile, Cofimvaba police in the Eastern Cape are investigating a case of culpable homicide after eight people burnt to death in a shack fire at Nququ Forest Sawmill. - SABC

Eight burn to death in shack fire, police inquire

Cofimvaba police in the Eastern Cape are investigating a case of culpable homicide after eight people burnt to death in a shack fire at Nququ Forest Sawmill.

Zamikhaya Qinisile, a police spokesperson, says four adults and four children were burnt beyond recognition. One man survived the tragedy.

Meanwhile, yesterday Southern Cape police have opened an inquest docket following the death of a 38-year-old man after his shack was gutted by fire at Qolweni informal settlement at Plettenberg Bay.

Malcolm Pojie, a police spokesperson, says the cause of the fire is not known at this stage. He has ruled out any possibility of foul play. Pojie says the incident took place early Sunday morning. The man only identified as Mxhakayi was the only victim of the fire. - SABC

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Police eviction notices may lead to suicides, officer warns

One of 150-odd policemen served with eviction notices by Western Cape police management has warned that "this is the type of thing that pushes police to commit suicide".

The inspector is one of at least 50 police officers who have been given until the end of the month to vacate their police residences in Park Court flats, Kenilworth.

The inspector, who declined to be named for fear of reprisals, said he would not be surprised if the punitive action by the police's top management resulted in displaced policemen "picking up a gun" as a away out.

Speaking on behalf of colleagues, who were afraid to talk to the media for fear of being fired, the inspector said: "We must fight crime for them (police management) but they do nothing for us. We are not animals." Cape Times

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Three killed in shack fire

Three people were killed in a shack fire at an informal settlement in Gugulethu, the Western Cape, on Sunday morning, police Captain Randall Stoffels said.

A 60-year-old woman and her two grandsons, aged five and nine, inside the shack perished.

A 16-year-old boy sustained superficial burn wounds to the face and has been taken to hospital.

Stoffels said he was not certain whether the 16-year-old was the boys' cousin or brother.

The four have been identified as Mandaba, Npokozo, Solile and Xolani Peter.

No foul play was suspected and the cause of the fire was not yet known. - Sapa

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Fabu-LAS Fuel Levy

As a member of the public HouseIT would like to take part in the public participation process with regard to the new fuel levy. Naturally according to the PAIA (public Access to information act) you have to request information from the information officer.
Information Officer: Transport and Public Works Mr Thami W Manyathi;
who is also the Department Head. Tel:(021) 483 5520/2826

In two days of trying to find out who what where:
05/07/2006: (021) 483 5520 Magdalene promised Jackie would get back to me when she got out of the meeting – This did not happen.
06/07/2006 Sheriniquie pa to Thami W Manyathi told me to call Treasury:
(021) 483-4709 Who told me to phone 483-5887 483-8683 There I spoke to Shirley Robinson’s secretary Gadija who said Anthony Phillips is working on the fuel levy she would leave the message for him to contact me regarding the time and place for the public participation process…

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Orphanage puts Cape families on the street

The City of Cape Town is to investigate the eviction of six families, including 16 children, from a sought-after property in Upper Woodstock that is leased by a controversial unregistered orphanage. Full Story...

Finance Minister imposes levy without a public plan for transport

Finance Minister Trevor Manuel has given his approval for a provincial fuel levy that will see Western Cape motorists paying between 10c and 50c per litre of petrol in addition to the existing national fuel levy. Full Story....

Now HouseIT - fully support an improved transportation system. This is very much key to a productive habitat - we all know getting around Cape Town's bad road system, and priority users (like Thabo Mbeki) who Zoom through the traffic as if they own the only road to town...


This is not the century to impose levies without a public plan that covers things like?

How much money will this levy raise?
How will it be put to use?
What transport infrastructure will be upgraded?
Are those plans made?
Can we see them?
When will we be able to review the financial records?

etc... What am I paying extra for?

The proposal will go through a process of public consultation before it can be implemented. IAfrica

Click Here for Government Contact list:
Press Ctrl+F and search for Transport and Public Works

Monday, July 03, 2006

A Joint, Initiative, accelerated shared growth, & economic development

The South African government is engaged in a major drive to sell its two latest horrifying acronyms - Asgisa and Jipsa - to donor countries.

These two sound like terrible diseases but they are not, of course - at least not literally. They stand, respectively, for the Accelerated and Shared Growth Initiative of South Africa and the Joint Initiative for Priority Skills Acquisition.

Part of that misgiving relates to black economic empowerment. Some governments are a bit unhappy about South Africa tapping donors to finance skills training when skilled whites are available who have been put out of work by BEE. Full acyromonny

Asigsa & Jipsa yourself by building your own home!

Sunday, June 25, 2006

An African WAC would be good

UN Water for Asian Cities

HouseIT Built from Ma!

Ma - Cannabis in Chinese.

WuHu ! - I look forward to visiting, as well as the limestone pinnacles on the Yangzi, and Dongtan, and and Nanjing.... WuHu!!! I am excited about this trip already!!!!

The Fourth Session of the World Urban Forum in 2008 will be hosted by the Ministry of Construction of China and the City of Nanjing.

HouseIT & InternAfrica will be there...

China NEVER stopped growing MA!

Friday, June 23, 2006

Dongtan Eco-city, Shanghai, China

British design consultancy Arup has announced that it has been tapped by the Chinese government to lead the construction of an "eco-city" expansion to Shanghai. Dongtan, the expanded development near Shanghai's airport, will eventually cover about 8,800 hectares -- roughly the size of Manhattan island. Shanghai claims that the Dongtan project will be "the world's first genuinely eco-friendly city," using recycled water, cogeneration and biomass for energy, and striving to be as carbon-neutral as possible.

The first phase, a 630 hectare development including a mix of transport facilities, schools, housing and high-tech industrial spaces, will begin construction late next year, and is expected to be completed by 2010.

So what does it mean to be a "genuinely eco-friendly city?" Arup gives this overview:

Priority projects include the process of capturing and purifying water in the landscape to support life in the city. Community waste management recycling will generate clean energy from organic waste, reducing landfills that damage the environment. Combined heat and power systems will provide the technology to source clean and reliable energy. Dongtan will be a model ecological city, and its buildings will help to reduce energy use, making efficient use of energy sources and generating energy from renewable sources.

World Changing

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Oh my National Security - SHIT! It's a ticking time bomb

South Africa's underfunded, badly managed sewage works in many towns are "ticking timebombs" that could lead to outbreaks of waterborne diseases, while drinking water in many rural towns fails to meet government health standards.

These were some of the startling submissions made to parliament's water affairs portfolio committee on Tuesday on the first of two days of public hearings on water quality.

Full story - Shit hitting the fan

From seed to Cannabrick

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Groups slam 'bylaw out of the Dark Ages' - More victimless criminals

Human rights and social welfare organisations have criticised the Cape Town city council's newly adopted prevention of nuisances bylaw, saying it will criminalise the poor and the homeless. Full Story...

Monday, June 19, 2006

Fire fumes kill dad and 2 children

A father and his two children died in their sleep, apparently of asphyxiation, after the family neglected to put out a brazier on Saturday night.

"It appears the man and his wife used the metal bin found in their bedroom to make a fire to warm the house but left it burning when they went to sleep," Superintendent Billy Jones said on Sunday.

He said relatives who went to visit the family in Nyanga on Sunday had found the children - aged seven months and four years old - dead, and their parents unconscious. The two were rushed to hospital where the man later died. - Sapa

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Idea: 5.10 The Ecological Footprint of Cities

A highly communicative indicator, the Ecological Footprint provides a measure of how much productive land and water a city requires to produce all the resources it consumes and to absorb all the waste it generates, using prevailing technology.

Most cities live beyond their ecological means. The challenge is to understand the nature and extent of their ecological consumption and to undertake strategic actions that address their most damaging environmental impacts. Appropriate benchmarking tools and indicators help stakeholders measure progress.

The Ecological Footprint metric, pioneered by Rees and Wackernagel, is a comprehensive indicator as well as a framework for benchmarking urban systems.

When coupled with participatory processes, the Footprint can be used as a powerful tool to promote sustainable communities. World Urban Forum Actionable Ideas

Build your own ecological home another actionable idea.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Homeless woman forced to live in septic tank

The Breede River municipality, aware of the fact that Marieka Wiese, 58, has been living in a septic tank for three years, and kindly provided her with a 2mx2m corrugated iron shack - on va les planter! - but her situation remains unchanged as it has not yet been erected. Full Story...

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Bigup David! We can now slay the Goliath of a housing problem we face

Kiff Invention Boet! The STRAWJET Inventor Name: Mr. David R. Ward

The History Channel 2006 Modern Marvel of the Year Invention

The Strawjet is a farm implement that processes straw (wheat, flax, sunflower, tobacco, hemp, etc.) in the field (after the plant has been harvested) into a mat, similar to a large bamboo window blind. This is used to construct composite building panels in much the same way as fiberglass or carbon fiber; however, the Strawjet uses a binder made from paper pulp, clay and cement rather than plastic resin.

Now we can build many more cannabrick homes :)

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Shooting Streetchildren - Molo R10 Tiago

An exhibition of photographs taken by street children in Rio de Janeiro opens in London on 15 June at Canning House in Belgrave Square. Cameras were given to the children with the aim of inspiring them to document their lives.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Cape of Fire

Thigs sure were HOT last night!

Mom, daughters die in fire

Cape Town - A 40-year-old woman and her two daughters died when their shack in Mandela Park, near Hout Bay, caught fire on Friday.

Spokesperson for the Western Cape police, captain Randall Stoffels, said the woman was asleep with her daughters - aged four and six - when the fire started. He said the cause of the fire was unknown. "No foul play is suspected and a post mortem will be conducted today (Saturday) to establish the cause of the deaths," said Stoffels. SAPA

50 informal dwellers displaced after shack fire
About 50 people have been displaced after a fire gutted 12 informal dwellings in Khayelitsha. Cape Town Fire says the blaze took place last night in the P J Section of site B, but the cause is not yet known. The homeless are being accommodated with family and friends in the area. No-one was injured in the blaze. SABC

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Flying high AAFB

Bigup to the folk across the pond ! Thanks for stopping by - not many people can stomach what can be read here. Thanx for keeping the Eagle eye view!

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Housing epidemic

Farm evictions are the new "silent epidemic" in the Western Cape, says premier Ebrahim Rasool, adding: "This is the crisis we are facing."

Rasool said housing was one of several key challenges identified at yesterday's Premier's Co-ordinating Forum in Stellenbosch.

The meeting, attended by all the provincial ministers as well as mayors and representatives of 30 municipalities and districts, was the first inter-governmental forum since the local government elections on March 1.

"We are on a treadmill when it comes to housing," said Rasool.

Build your own home

He said the "inhuman" daily evictions of "hundreds" of families from farms, in particularly the Overberg and Cape Winelands, would exacerbate the province's housing crisis.

The silent epidemic of farm evictions has pushed the housing backlog to the rural towns and we don't have a handle yet on how much this backlog has shifted."

He said that if the estimated housing backlog was 360 000 before the farm evictions, this number would now have increased significantly

Richard Dyantyi, MEC for local government and housing, said the farm evictions would compound the housing shortages created by migration to the province from the Eastern Cape.

Although it has been more than three months since the elections, Rasool said concerns about political instability were a recurring theme in discussions ... see Sodom (burnt) Cape Towns and Gomorrahs (Ruined Heaps) left by this premier sodomite's political and governing actions...

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Oh shit! Stop Building

Authorities in the Winelands District have been advised not to approve new building projects until the overloaded sewage works in Franschhoek have been upgraded.

A Mr C Davids, senior environmental health practitioner at the Cape Winelands District Municipality, wrote a letter on May 26 saying that Franschhoek's sewage works was in violation of the department of water affairs's standards.

Partly treated and untreated sewage was being discharged every day from the Franschhoek sewage works into the Berg River, Davids wrote.

New developments approved by the planning and development department in Franschhoek were putting more pressure on the overloaded system. Properties that had been sold as single units had been subdivided and more houses built.

The new houses were being connected to the sewerage system, although it could not cope with the load it had. Davids recommended that the municipality "not approve any new building works until the sewage works have been upgraded". An upgrade "is of utmost importance". Full Story....

Here's a solution...

Waterborne sanitation is a luxury destined to be replaced by a more environmentally-friendly alternative. The 'e-loo' might just be a viable solution. http://www.eloo.co.za/

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Man dies in shack fire

A man was killed in a shack fire in Ivory Park informal settlement near Tembisa today. Malcolm Midgeley, emergency services spokesperson, said the man, aged about 40, was found dead inside a shack gutted by the blaze.
Midgeley said the fire, which started at 9pm, had gutted one shack when it was put off. The cause of the fire was not known. - Sapa

Shack blaze leaves dozens homeless

At least 250 people were left homeless when 60 shacks were burned down in Langa, outside Cape Town, on Monday, the Disaster Operations Centre (DOC) said.
Six fire engines were called to the scene and firefighters brought the blaze under control. Two hostels were also partially affected by the fire.
The city of Cape Town will on Tuesday clear up the area to allow the 72 families to recover their valuables.Victims were registered and the housing department would issue building material to affected families. Emergency shelter was arranged at the Langa Civic Centre.
The cause of the fire was unknown, the DOC said. - Sapa

Life not a gas for poor households

Public Enterprises Minister Alec Erwin says it is "a pity" the price of gas has risen at the time Eskom is encouraging poor Western Cape households to exchange their electric stoves for gas, but says price regulation is problematic. Full Story....

Monday, June 05, 2006

2B that gr8 generation U can B1 or wait 4 the G8

"Sometimes it falls upon a generation to be great;

You can be that great generation!

Millions of people in the world’s poorest countries,
are trapped in the prisons of poverty

It is time to set them free

Poverty is not natural, it is man made

And can be overcome by the action of human beings" ~ Nelson Mandela

Watch the video appeal

Living with the dead - Cape Town shacks get waterproofing

Mildred Gigi is blind and obviously malnourished but she perked up when she discovered her shack in the Maitland Cemetery would get a waterproof cover. Full Story....

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Family burns to death in shack fire

A family of three burnt to death after their shack caught fire in Muvhango informal settlement next to Vanderbijlpark on Sunday night, Vaal Rand police said.

Muvhango residents were woken by a screaming Joseph Tsholo, 38, his wife Veronica, 35 and three-year-old daughter Tiisetso just before midnight, spokesperson Captain William Mcera said on Monday."We believe the fire was caused by a paraffin stove that they might have left burning when going to sleep. They were trapped inside the shack and called for help.

Their neighbours tried to put out the fire, but they eventually called the police on realising that the flames were too strong," Mcera said. - SAPA

More than effort bared for blankets

Rock on Radio Jacaranda!!!

It all started out as just a bit of fun doing a good deed for charity - but now a few listeners of Jacaranda 94.2 who stripped and braved the cold to donate a blanket are having regrets.

Breakfast-show host Kieno Kammies challenged listeners to participate in the Winter Warmer' campaign by donating a blanket. However, Kammies' twist was to persuade them to show up at the station on Tuesday morning wearing only the blanket they intended to donate.

No fewer than 70 people showed up at the station shortly before 6am, dressed only in their blanket, to be donated to Children of Fire, a service for children affected and disfigured by flames.

In less than an hour, about 400 blankets had been donated, along with about R1 000.

Friday, June 02, 2006

N2 Gateway claims threatens housing project

Democratic Alliance councillor Neil Ross says contractors have threatened to bring claims amounting to more than R100-million against the city of Cape Town for mismanagement of the N2 Gateway housing project. Full Story....

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Another RDP housing project crashes in Limpopo

Yet another Reconstruction and Development Programme (RDP) housing project has crashed in Limpopo, and this time at extension 44 outside Polokwane at a cost of an estimated R32 million.

The project was stopped by the Polokwane Municipality after discovering what it calls 'blatant defects' and described the houses 'unsafe' and of 'shoddy workmanship'. A week ago, government announced that it was considering to demolish 1 000 RDP houses built on a flood line with poor quality costing R19 million of taxpayer's money.

Extension 44 is one of the projects where government continues to lose millions of rands. According to the municipality, the contractor's plans were not approved. Their designs also failed to be in line with those set by the National Building Regulations Act.

Simon Mokoatedi, the Polokwane municipality spokesperson, says the two contractors in these particular projects have failed to submit the building plans as required by law, and therefore a decision was taken to stop the project.

Despite all this, government has paid the developers. For over 10 years, the provincial department of local government and housing do not seem to be getting it right. The department says that there are still a lot of lessons to be learnt. SABC

Like let citizens build their own homes


Houseit & InternAfrica have been created to address this human habitat crisis in the Western Cape South Africa. We see the same human hardship and impending catastrophe, based on our local conditions, delivery and politics.

Described by President Robert Mugabe’s government as an urban renewal drive, the operation, which began in May, saw armed police and soldiers demolishing townships and backyard cottages in urban and peri-urban areas.

The satellite photographs commissioned by AI depict the destruction of Porta Farm, a large informal settlement established 16 years ago. Prior to being demolished, it boasted schools, a children’s centre and a mosque, AI said.

AI has also released video footage showing forced evictions taking place prior to the demolitions.
“These satellite images are irrefutable evidence — if further evidence is even needed — that the Zimbabwean government has obliterated entire communities —
completely erased them from the map, as if they never existed,” said Kolawole Olaniyan, director of AI’s Africa programme. M&G
InternAfrica (IA) & Houseit aim to empower citizens with the knowledge to delivery their own solution and to build their own homes.

IA & Houseit are steadfast in preventing a similar situation as in Zimbabwe, from happening here in South Africa. Your Support is greatly valued. Please visit for regular updates on developments concerning the Human Habitat and sustainable solutions we offer.

Build your own home: Demonstration

Amnesty International (AI): Satellite, Video and reports

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

D-Day turned bad

"They were given notice that today [Tuesday] is D-Day and they will be forcefully removed if they don't go," said Mabanga.

Gauteng housing department spokesperson Mongezi Mnyani said the relocation had become "politicised" with rumours that some local politicians had mobilised residents to oppose the relocation.

He said as part of government's programme to eradicate informal settlements, about 1 114 "formal" houses had been built in the Albert Luthuli settlement, of which 167 had been allocated to residents of Thamboville.He said there would be an average of five people per household.

According to Mabanga, when the Red Ants, metro police, police and housing officials arrived early on Tuesday, about 800 people blocked the main street to the settlement "chanting revolutionary songs".The angry residents were told their gathering was illegal and they were given 15 minutes to disperse. When that time was up and they had still not left, police fired rubber bullets to disperse the crowd who started throwing stones at police, Red Ants and housing officials.

Eighteen people were injured during the shooting, and were taken by ambulance to separate hospitals. M&G

Friday, May 26, 2006

Nelson Mandela Metropole Floods

The clean-up operations in the water drenched areas of Nelson Mandela Metropole currently under way will take the whole day.

About 4 000 people, mainly from informal settlements, were displaced by the floods. SABC

Thursday, May 25, 2006

A warm isothermic insular home would be nice

The weekend's cold weather was not without victims.

Two people apparently froze to death in the Eastern Cape, while three others died in incidents related to the cold weather in the province, Dispatch online reported.

In Amalinda forest near East London, a man in his 40s appeared to have died from the cold in his shack during the night.

In Mdantsane, East London, the body of a 28-year-old woman, described by police as a "bush-dweller", was found in the street. A man lying near her was alive, but suffering from hypothermia. He was admitted to Cecilia Makiwane Hospital where he was recovering.

Build your own warm home

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

City's failure to plan is intolerable

"The recent spate of public misdemeanours, accentuated by Satawu protesters, has highlighted a fundamental deficiency in government administration - the lack of contingency planning.

The Koeberg power debacle, the N2 Gateway housing fiasco, and now the Satawu pseudo-insurrection have emphasised that when it comes to planning for unforeseen eventualities, City of Cape Town authorities are literally left in the dark. Culpability is normally shifted to other departments, groups and factions. Nobody is willing to accept responsibility...

For those in authority who are not well-versed with the phrase, contingency planning means this: All scenarios are covered and planned for, with the operative word being "all".It is not fixing the systems after a disaster. It's developing (well in advance) risk-reducing procedures and alternative business processes that can deliver critical services while the broken systems are being fixed." Jody Daniels Opinion Cape Town

Energy Efficiency

Homes that are 'cooling' in summer and warmer in winter are isothermically more energy efficient. This 'green' style of building is considered 'energy wise'.

With the clear and present power shortage, long term solutions are becoming a clear business day.

Electricity consumers as a whole are ultimately paying for these programmes through higher Eskom costs and tariffs. While these expenditures may be justified in the short term (as power outages can be even more costly to the economy) attention has to shift to more sustainable and cost-effective programmes in future.

Clearly, SA needs to improve the efficacy of electricity supply planning and investments, but we also need to develop sustainable demand-side management programmes.

Build your own energy efficient home

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Mean time washing is done between the toilets

Too many political promises, not enough delivery, too many half baked attemps at solutions, not enough primary health or basic sanitation.

Far far too much fraud and corruption, and power mongering...

"Politicians should channel their energies toward the needs of South Africans" - President Thabo Mbeki

Build your own home.

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Government wages war on housing shortages

The government is no longer going to provide free housing in a wholesale manner. This is the message from national Housing Minister Lindiwe Sisulu to delegates attending a conference of Slum Dwellers International taking place at the Cape Town International Convention this weekend.

On the first day of the conference, Sisulu yesterday said the government was committed to the creation of "a culture of doing away with the culture of entitlement."

A unique challenge was to "prick the consciences" of the rich to show that they could be of assistance in fighting the housing shortage, Sisulu said Build your own home SatStar.

Friday, May 19, 2006

What assets going where... what do you see in this picture?

I snapped this picture out the car window, I love it - but I would like to know what do YOU see in this picture?

please comment

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Is this the African way?

Our nothern Neighbour for which we have such silent contemptuous poltical banter and awe of their land reform policy.

this is what is left of their ideas... lets not follow them.

One year later...

A year after Operation Murambatsvina, the government’s campaign to purge informal settlements, the lives of thousands of affected Zimbabweans have not changed. Uprooted last year from their homes in the capital, Harare, families have been squeezed into tiny living spaces authorised by the government on the outskirts of the city. They have no source of employment and, in some cases, no access to medical facilities. IRIN

War Zone1 - Cape Town Africa

Yip there it is folks - finally the reality we face a war zone.

& these are only a few striking guards... not the Millions of poorly housed....

Poverty is placing Urban centres on alert for epic strike action

Winter and discontent will come ... I pray this year the housing riots don't make this war zone look like kids playing...

Monday, May 15, 2006

Cape girl dies in container blaze

A toddler, two, narrowly escaped death, but his 13-year-old sister was killed when the container they lived in at Stellenbosch burnt out on Sunday. The children lived alone in one of eight units in a large shipping container on Green Oaks Farm near the new cemetery in Jamestown, on the R44 to the Strand.

Firemen found the structure already in flames when they arrived. The girl was found dead inside and the toddler was rescued. Fire chief Tasso Steyn said the most likely cause of the fire was a candle falling over. Cape Times

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Police burn 42 Homes

Fourteen tons of dagga were found in the mountains of the Eastern Cape and three people were arrested in an operation running from last Wednesday to Friday, police said.

10% of the plant was seized; which means the remaining 90% or 126 tons of industrial cannabis was destroyed by police on friday....

  • Fatyela said it was a difficult operation because the harvested dagga was hidden in valleys and mountains."It rained a lot and our vehicles got stuck in the mud. It really wasn't easy."The organised-crime unit, mounted police unit, dog unit and the area crime combating unit took part.The people who were arrested, two women and a man, would appear in court soon.Fatyela said the dagga was being burnt on Friday. -- Sapa
This is the same as destroying 42 cannabrick homes.

How to build a cannabis home.

Demonstrated out side the Department of Housing

  1. Plant a cannabis seed. Water and allow the plant to grow and produce seed. Plant and water these seeds. Your goal is to grow enough to build a house, you will need about 1 acre to build a 5 roomed home.

    Tyala imbewu ntsangu (ye-cannabis). Nkcenkceshela imbewu uze uyinike ithuba lokuba ikhule ide ikhuphe eyayo imbewu. Uyothi ke uyityale nalembewu uyinkcenkceshele njalo. Injongo yakho kukukhulisa izityalo ezothi zonele ekwakheni indlu, uyakudinga i-acre (malunga nentsimi) enye ukuze wakhe indlu enamagumbi amahlanu.

  2. Consider the many relevant points presented in the guidelines of Build your house step-by-step.

    Qwalasela yonke imigaqo oyibekelweyo kwincwadana i-Build Your House Step By Step.

    Download here: InternAfrica
  3. Start planning where your house will stand. Consider everything about the environment you’ll be building in, like winter and summer sunshine, wind and rain – you don’t want to build on a floodplain, or your house will wash away. Be sure to plan all your water and waste requirements.

    Ceba indawo ozokwakha kuyo indlu yakho. Qwalasela yonke into ngomhlaba lo uzokwakha kuwo indlu yakho, izinto ezinje ngemimoya, ilanga, neemvula zehlobo nobusika, akekho umntu ofuna ukwakha indlu yakhe emgxobhozweni okanye apho iyothi ibe lilifa lezikhukhula khona. Uqiniseke ukuba unamanzi akulungeleyo ukwenza oku.

  4. Cut the grown cannabis plants down and leave in the field to rhett for a week. The morning dew and natural rotting process will loosen the fibers from the plant.

    a. Process the plant matter by cutting leaves and branches off, then hit small bundles the length of the plant over and upturned rake.
    b. The long fiber parts that remain in your hand are good for weaving rugs and making various other items your skills can accomplish.
    c. The seed can be gathered for more housing.
    d. Gather the small woody bits (the hurd) that have fallen, this waste is what will be used in the construction material.

    Sika / sarha izityalo uzibeke egadini ixesha elingangeveki ukuze zibole. Umbethe wasekuseni nezinye izinto zendalo ezibolisayo ziya kuyikhulula I-fibre ezityalweni.

    a. Yikhawulezise ngohlukanisa intonga zezityalo namagqabi, uhlale uyiharika rhoqo.
    b. Intonga ezi zinothi zincede kwezinye izinto ezifana nokwenza ingubo nezinye izinto onothi uzibonele zona ngokolwazi lwakho.
    c. Imbewu inokuqokelelwe ukwakha ezinye izindlu.
    d. Qokelela imithana ethe yaziwela njengokuba uzoyisebenzisa xa usakha indlu yakho.

  5. Wash the hurd, dry it, then wash it again. Be careful not to allow the matter to rot or decay during this process, by turning, airing and allowing the African sun to dry the hurd properly. Now combine in proportions 10:2:3:3 combine the cannabis/ntsangu/dagga Hurd(10), washed river sand 0.5mm(2), hydraulic lime(3) and water(3) to make the mulch (This process may need tweaking depending on your geographic location, humidity, rainfall etc)

    Hlamba ingqokelela yakho, uyomise, uphinde uyihlambe.Ulumkele ukuba lengqokelela ibole kwelithuba, yiguquguqule, uyivumele ibethwe ngumoya uvumele nelanga lase Afrika liyomise lengqokelela. Dibanisa ngokwalo mgaqo 10:2:3:3, dibanisa ke lemvuno yakho yomgquba wentsangu (10) kunye nesanti yasemlanjeni 0.5mm(2), ikalika (3) kunye namanzi (3) ukwenza udaka (Nale into ke iyokuthi ixhomekeke kwindawo leyo ukuyo nemvula zakhona njalo-njalo).

  6. Now build your house! Ngoku ke yakha indlu yakho!

  7. Teach others. Fundisa abanye.

· You can use this “dagga-cement” for making bricks, shutter casting or the proven “pole-and-dagga” method. This last method allows for a sturdy, warm, fireproof and water proof home – built with pride and intuitive engineering, not a ‘uniform box’.

Be sure to consider all aspects of your house design and structural requirements. Although the cannabis-cement will become stronger than steel in time, it is not advised to build over 2 floors high without considering structural implications. With planning this cement can be used to build up to 4 floors high.

The cannabis-cement will dry over a period of a month (depending on the weather). At this point you will be able to add the roof. Seal your home’s walls with lime; lime external walls annually.

Decorate your house with masonry to make it unique, and paint with coloured lime as per custom.

Always PLANT A TREE in a place that will provide shade, to commemorate this accomplishment.

Council will plant trees if citizens care for them. Call (021) 689-8938 http://www.trees.org.za/

Assist your family, friends or neighbors with your experience and expertise. Share information and technique; you can uplift yourself and your community.


InternAfrica is a not-for-profit organisation addressing the Cape Habitat Crisis through education of sustainable green building methods as demonstrated here on HouseIT