Tuesday, January 31, 2006
In a ringing endorsement for Smith, Sparks adds: "The reason why they are coping at all is entirely due to the efforts of Chief Smith, the officers and the firefighters." Page 1 Cape Argus
Monday, January 30, 2006
In fact, residents of QQ section in Khayelitsha have planned a march to the mayor's office on Wednesday in order to give her "formal warning" of planned protests if the city does not immediately provide them with better access to water, electricity, sanitation and refuse collection.
The Cape Argus visited the community last week to find out if the city had dealt with their concerns, raised during protest action last year. The community took to the streets in July, burning tyres and even blocking the N2 freeway in a bid to highlight the slow or non-existent delivery of municipal services.
Sunday, January 29, 2006
The waste in question was a by-product of the herbicide monosodium methylarsonate, which, according to the PAN Pesticides Database in the US, is a heavy metal chemical containing arsenic, which has high carcinogenic properties. It is also a potential groundwater contaminant.
Two decades ago, chemical giant Sentrachem unloaded this by-product on the farm Ottawa, which has been earmarked for 130 residential sites, through the KwaZulu-Natal department of housing (but taken over by the eThekwini Municipality). Read More
Blacks, whites buy homes in unique project, an ambitious housing plan north of Johannesburg, where people can live the South African dream of racial harmony, is moving from vision to reality.
Cosmo City, is the place where, in terms of the new National Housing Code, low-income, middle-income and high-income earners would live side by side and share the same facilities. Read more
An estimated 70 000 people are expected to live in more than 20 000 units upon its completion in 2007.
In Cape Town, despite moving all funds (including disaster management) into the N2 Gateway project budget... only 2,200 units will be provided...
Why can't Cape Town's Municipality and Provincial government - deliver the same standard as in Johannesburg?
Saturday, January 28, 2006
Pictorial News24's inbox ablaze
Friday, January 27, 2006
Thursday, January 26, 2006
The City of Cape Town has cut its capital budget by 30 percent to free funds for the project. It has also slashed the number of Gateway flats being built for rent from 6 600 to 2 200.
Rental no shack dweller can afford.
Money diverted from fire fighters to the N2 Gateway Project has caused this: Cape Town firefighters in open revolt
Firefighters have come out in open revolt - rejecting the City of Cape Town's denial that the fire service was in a crisis - and have defied a gagging order imposed on them.
After a meeting at the central fire brigade in Roeland Street on Wednesday, DA mayoral candidate Helen Zille said: "From our meeting it became apparent that the number of staff in our fire services is totally inadequate, in spite of the City's claims to the contrary."
Considering more homes have been destroyed by fire than what government has delivered, InternAfrica. We have to question the ability of local government's to manage and govern budget allocations, and the habitat environment of the western Cape.
Tuesday, January 24, 2006
It is evident from these shocking statistics that the people on the sharp edge of this particular natural hazard are, once again, the poorest of the poor. These are, of course, the people that our city's leaders tell us they are most committed to protecting and uplifting.
And yet the same leaders have slashed the City of Cape Town's fire services budget to such an extent that right now there are at least 120 fewer firefighters to battle these fires. And right now, with heat and strong winds, we are in the traditional fire season...
David Sasman, a councillor on the city council's safety and security committee, said that the cuts were being made mainly to fund the N2 Gateway housing project because money promised for it by the province had not been received yet... despite Housing officials told not to 'plead poverty' and R800 mill housing budget not spent
Diverting funding to the housing project and yet leaving shack dwellers increasingly vulnerable to fires - and, therefore, increased homelessness - seems to be, well, playing with fire.
The street battles, which left 27 people, including 10 children, injured, saw stone-throwing protesters hurling petrol bombs and barricading streets with burning tyres as authorities fought back, firing teargas and rubber bullets at rioters. The protests saw hundreds of policemen flooding the area in an attempt to stem the violence. Photo: Etienne Creux, The Mercury
"Don't ... plead poverty," Tutu Ralane told the housing ministers of four provinces who reported on their spending.Before complaining about an inequitable division of resources among provinces, provincial ministers should look at why available funds are not being spent, he said...
He criticised the ministers for not having specific information on challenges they reported on, including skills shortages."Don't come here and generalise again," Ralane said.
"Don't say you lack capacity. Say you lack engineers, for instance, and tell us what you are doing about it."
Ralane pointed to what he termed the "Hollywood" problem, in which "almost everyone is acting". Full Story
Monday, January 23, 2006
"What is happening now is that anybody just builds anything, anywhere," said Richard Dyantyi, the Western Cape housing MEC. Dyantyi told the committee that urbanisation and the eviction of labourers by struggling farmers was contributing to the province's shack dwelling problem and adding to the low-cost housing backlog.
The problem of fires and floods in shack areas presented the government with a daunting challenge.The province is engaged in efforts to relocate people living in "stressful areas" to vacant land, but this involves thousands of people and is not an easy task, Dyantyi told the committee." SABC
Attacked: Booi Davids, 41, is one of several informal residents who say they were struck by Wynberg police during a raid late on Friday night. Photo: Andrew Ingram, Cape Times
Black-owned companies were given the opportunity by the city to purchase 65 erven at Big Bay as part of an empowerment initiative.
But instead of developing the plots in line with Mfeketo's aim of "furthering the city's strategic objectives of increasing broad-based and effective participation by black people in the economy" the black-owned companies simply put many of the plots back on the market - making profits of R80 000 to R200 000 each.
Critics have now suggested the transactions were nothing but "handouts" to a select few who have now been enriched. They argue this is not empowerment. Read More
Sunday, January 22, 2006
says Binyavanga Wainaina
Some tips: sunsets and starvation are good. Always use the word Africa or Darkness or Safari in your title. Subtitles may include the words Zanzibar, Masai, Zulu, Zambezi, Congo, Nile, Big, Sky, Shadow, Drum, Sun or Bygone. Also useful are words such as Guerrillas, Timeless, Primordial and Tribal. Note that 'People' means Africans who are not black, while 'The People' means black Africans.
Friday, January 20, 2006
Grows, and always shows up as useful:
The reason given for the non-delivery is that there is not enough money. But the treasury says there is. The Western Cape alone has under spent its budget by R800 million.
Parliament heard that the other big under-spenders are Limpopo, Free State and Mpumalanga. Tutu Ralane, the chairperson of the portfolio committee, says he is disappointed that only the Free State turned up.
"We don't want to hear generalisations about capacity ... we want MECs to start identifying areas where they lack capacity and then focus to address it."The provinces that have spent their money are the Northern Cape and North West. Ralane says they want provinces to share experiences on how best to deliver houses. SABC
The Department of Finance has launched its latest Tips for Trevor campaign to give South
It's decreasing mainly to fund the N2 Gateway Project. Money promised by the provincial government hasn't been received yet - that's why they're cutting back," said David Sasman, a councillor on the city council's safety and security committee. Cape Times
Wednesday, January 18, 2006
• The lack of adequate housing;
• The slow rate of delivery;
• Evictions; and
Centre for Civil Society
Conclusion - Build your own home
Tuesday, January 17, 2006
Runaway veld fire threatens Onrus homes - Several houses were under threat when strong winds fanned a veld fire which raged out of control in the Babilonstoring mountain area near Onrus. Full Story....
After two days of refusing to clarify this issue, the Presidency has finally agreed to issue a comprehensive "clarification statement" on Tuesday. This comes in the wake of repeated attempts to get comment on the issue from the Presidency, the ministry of social development and the government's communications service. Pretoria News
Haitian Gravy Train:
For some people the year started with a series of bad days in the office. Mbeki, for example, started 2004 with a visit to Haiti to attend the island's bicentennial independence celebrations but some of the president Jean-Bertrand Aristide's opponents fired at South African security personnel and Mbeki soon returned home. More
Before long Aristide was also on his way to south Africa. He's settled in Pretoria where he occupies a pleasant office at Unisa and teaches theology or How To Be a President.
South Africa donated R10-million to help fund the celebration of Haiti's independence More facts
"Every election they promise us electricity, land and housing. After every election they disappear," said Stephen Booysen, a building subcontractor and the community's leader.
When the shack dwellers offered to move onto higher municipal land near by, an environmental impact study was ordered by the mayor's office, which reported that a rare type of spider lived on the land in question, prompting fury among the community and "Less than Spiders" local headlines.
"We're not going anywhere," said Lena Williams, of the Power Town residents committee. "This is like old South Africa. If they want old South Africa they will get it. They will see tyres burning here. Cape Times
In Cape Town, 40% believed local councillors did not help their constituents, with little difference across the country between age groups, language groups and cities. SABC
Friday, January 13, 2006
After spending six months in damp and rain in Langa's makeshift tent city, the 1 600 families were moved to community halls in Delft before moving into the temporary houses.Tsunami seems an oddly appropriate name for the settlement, where the survivors of the fire that swept through their former homes spend their days in uncertainty. They also face some hostility from the surrounding community of Delft.
Nosango Jwampini has been living in the settlement since June. She is unemployed and spends much of her time at home."I'm not really sure what's going on. Nobody (among the authorities) is telling us what is happening," she said. Read More
Thursday, January 12, 2006
And it's very likely that among the homeless are the very children and teenagers who told University of Cape Town (UCT) researchers that fire was one of their worst nightmares.
"Worrying about fires is one of the main issues highlighted by children and teenagers in our study in 2005," says Dr Rachel Bray, of the Centre for Social Science Research at UCT. "They know that people die. And they know that services find it difficult to come in time because the nearest fire station is in Fish Hoek, several kilometres down the road." M&G
Wednesday, January 11, 2006
Tuesday, January 10, 2006
City manager Wallace Mgoqi received a bonus of R186 011.98 on top of his salary of R966 296.04 and a car allowance of R90 000. "Similar bonuses were handed to three other top management figures, perhaps the most disturbing of which was the R178 832.50 paid to the executive director of transport, roads and planning, Mike Marsden, on top of his salary of R929 000.04,"
"[This was] the same year that the metro was placed on national government's Project Consolidate programme for dysfunctional municipalities," Read More
Monday, January 09, 2006
This is the anger South Africans vented in a violent show of dissatisfaction over the government's poor service delivery.
But local government elections loom and the ANC has produced another set of promises to deliver services and ensure councillors do their jobs. However, political observers warn it may not be enough to convince South Africans to vote in the local elections in March.In KwaZulu-Natal, 20 000 shack dwellers of the Abahlali Base Mjondolo (shack-dwellers' movement) proclaimed a "no land, no vote" stance.
"We're sick and tired of the empty promises of government for the past 10 years. Voting means putting politicians back in power to again oppress us. Anyone from our social movement will tell you it is a waste of time," Zikode said. "Our problems of needing housing, sanitation, water and electricity are only mentioned around election time," he added.
University of KwaZulu-Natal philosophy researcher Richard Pithouse said the fact that the ANC wanted to act against corrupt councillors may be an indication that they acknowledge things have gone very badly with the last term of office of council officials.
"The protests all over the country are a significant indication of people's anger and disillusionment. In some cases there were well over 5 000 people marching, and these were from among the poorest communities in the country," he said.
This article was originally published on page 1 of Cape Times on January 09, 2006
Sunday, January 08, 2006
According to the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), the median American house size is slightly more than 2,000 square feet, or 186 square meters. The average south African home is about 25 square meters...
Or it could be 82 square meters if built like this.
This follows months of sporadic and sometimes violent protest by communities across the country over housing and service delivery. The manifesto recommits the ANC to service delivery goals it has already set, saying no community would still be using the bucket toilet system by 2007.
"By 2010, when South Africa hosts the Soccer World Cup, all households will have access to clean running water and decent sanitation," it said. "As we celebrate the centenary of the ANC in 2012 every house will have access to electricity. By supervising the work of all our public representatives in government, we will ensure that these tasks are met.
"By improving the capacity of all government structures to serve the people, we will make government work better for you."By fighting corruption and arrogance among some who work in government, the ANC is determined to respect the people's mandate." - Additional reporting by Sapa SABC
Saturday, January 07, 2006
Friday, January 06, 2006
This figure rose too double that at 417 new shacks a day on average in the next 3 year period between 2001 and 2003... M&G
'There is no holiday in the shacks'
From the slums of Durban, a new movement is giving voice to millions of South Africans living in shacks and increasingly feeling forgotten by the post-apartheid government.
Abahlali Base Mjondolo, the Zulu name for shack dwellers, is the largest group to emerge from South Africa's informal settlements, the sprawling slums of wood, corrugated steel and cardboard shacks that have mushroomed near cities... M&G
More than 100 people lost their lives last year in informal settlement fires in the greater Cape Town area. Read More
Western Cape Disaster Management said that more than R6 billion has been spent on fighting fires since the Christmas weekend. SABCnews
R6 billion could build 400, 000 fire-proof Cannabrick Homes eliminating the entire housing backlog in the Western Cape and saving the cost of disaster management.
Only government planning & delivery is holding this up.
Year of bad service and dishonesty
The informal settlement of Olievenhoutbosch, south of Pretoria, has again become the flashpoint in the xenophobia spreading across the country.
Untroubled amid trouble: A resident of Olievenhoutbosch hangs out the washing while a shack owned by a Zimbabwean burns in the background. Several homes belonging to foreigners have been torched in vigilante-style attacks. Photo: Steve Lawrence, The Star
Thursday, January 05, 2006
The blaze comes almost exactly a year since a huge fire devastated Joe Slovo, razing 4 000 homes and leaving 12 000 people destitute.
Earlier this week the Cape Argus reported that the large number of devastating fires in informal settlements has forced an increase of almost R5-million in the Western Cape department of social services budget for disasters for this financial year.
A statement by the City of Cape Town revealed that there were nearly 2 000 fires in informal settlements last year, leaving about 28 000 people homeless. Cape Argus SABC
Many people were left without power. RDP houses were the hardest hit. The full extent of the damage is yet to be assessed, but it is estimated to run into millions of rands. SABC
On Wednesday morning, the Diepsloot shack where Lethabo was born was smashed to pieces by a flash flood, and her mother's body was found by rescue workers a few metres away in the swollen Jukskei River, which had burst its banks after heavy rains.
Lethabo's father managed to save his child but could do nothing for his 28-year-old partner. Full Story
Wednesday, January 04, 2006
SOUTHERN AFRICA: Heavy rainfall claims lives, leaves thousands homeless Reuters
Flood Water in Johannesburg:
The body of a woman swept away by flood waters in Diepsloot Johannesburg has been recovered. Rescue workers embarked on a search for the woman after her shack was swept away by the river with her family still inside.
Tuesday, January 03, 2006
A statement by the City of Cape Town indicates that there were nearly 2 000 fires in informal settlements last year. More than 8 000 homes had already been destroyed by December 13 and about 28 000 people had been left destitute.
Last week alone 95 shacks burnt down in Masiphumelele, displacing about 120 families, and more than 300 shacks were razed in Khayelitsha. Police spokesperson Randall Stoffels said about 100 dwellings were destroyed.
The head of social services and poverty alleviation, Virginia Petersen, said the department had originally earmarked slightly more than R7-million for disasters but had already spent R12-million. Cape Argus
CapeTimes Photo: Herbert Hendricks
The president noted that people expect much from national, provincial and municipal governments - improved quality of life, better service delivery, improved safety and security against crime, more jobs and so on. Yet service delivery depends on local government, and the best programmes, as planned by central government, too often break down at municipal level.
There has been an unseemly scramble in some areas for seats on municipal councils, driven too often by corrupt motives.
Mbeki said citizens expected honest, accountable service from councillors. They are not always getting such service. The malaise in municipal government is serious. Official figures show that 136 out of 284 municipalities cannot perform their basic functions. Administrative skills are wanting. The weakness of many municipalities needs to be urgently remedied. A good starting point would be the election of councillors in March who are genuinely committed to serve their communities rather than line their own pockets. Cape Times
Monday, January 02, 2006
Teams from the City of Cape Town’s disaster management are still on full alert. Wilfred Solomons, one of the managers, has issued a special warning to people living in informal settlements:
“Keep matches, lighters, paraffin and any flammable substances away from children. Keep stoves on flat surfaces to prevent the wind from blowing the flame towards flammable material, and very importantly, never leave paraffin stoves or any flammable substance or open fires unattended.” sabcnews
Sunday, January 01, 2006
Few dispute that South Africa's social and economic disparities help to fuel crime. Inspecting Judge Hannes Fagan writes in the 2003/04 annual report of the Judicial Inspectorate of Prisons that of crimes committed, 30% were economic crimes and 50% aggressive crimes "largely engendered by poverty and joblessness and the frustrations that they cause".