Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Major power interruptions expected on election day

Pollitical Blogging of the ellections; when they have electricity: http://electionblogs.mg.co.za/

Power cuts continue in the Western Cape - SABC

Agriculture sector faces job cuts
Agricultural experts say it is likely that more than 20% of farm workers will loose their jobs within the next year due to the stiff increase of minimum wages. The increase of 12.6% is more than three times the country's inflation rate of 4.4%.

Weeds / Cannabrick homes tonight 22H30

“Little boxes, Little boxes made of ticky tackey
& the people in the houses
All went to the university
Where they were put in boxes
& they all came out the same”
Except the houses made from cannabricks
the rest all look just the same

Promises... Soweto-on-sea

ELIMINATING homelessness, poverty, informal settlements and shacks are among the aims of a housing project – to be funded and managed by national, provincial and local government – which is set to start in April in impoverished Nelson Mandela Bay townships Soweto-on-Sea and Veeplaas.

Housing Minister Lindiwe Sisulu visited Soweto-on-Sea’s community centre yesterday to explain Zanemvula, an “informal settlement upgrading and human settlement project” to residents, before signing a cooperation agreement with Housing, Local Government and Traditional Affairs MEC Sam Kwelita and mayoral committee member and municipal housing and land committee chairman Nancy Sihlwayi.

Her visit to the centre followed a drive through Veeplaas and a walk through the streets of Soweto-on Sea, where she was warmly welcomed by a crowd of about 100 people, who sang songs as they escorted Sisulu along a short route to visit homes.

Addressing a larger crowd of about 500 people outside the community centre, Sisulu said: “With the help of provincial and local government, we are going to fix these (housing) problems.”


Power play excuses and ecological disasters

Along with the media, business and the public Africannabis believe that the 'reasons' for the power cuts seem to be wide and varied; and constantly changing, or simply expose the fact that city mangement is actually beyond the scope and capacity of city management, political will and promises.

Dirty job: Cape nature conservation officer Heink Louw and a volunteer attempt to repair a temporary weir in the Sand River canal after the power failures that brought Cape Town to a standstill last week caused millions of litres of raw sewage to pour into wetland nature reserves such as Zandvlei and Zeekoevlei, creating an ecological disaster. Photo: John Yeld, Cape Argus

Businesses and residents in the Western Cape are bracing themselves for more blackouts after an announcement by Eskom that power will again be interrupted due to multiple line faults. Full Story....

Citizens: 'We always vote but our lives don't improve'

"We were promised development a long time ago. Government officials always come and address us with the chief, especially during the elections, but nothing happens," Shangase headman Phenyamadoda Mchunu says while waiting on a dusty road to catch a taxi."We wash ourselves in the [Mdloti] river. The women also wash their clothes in the river. The water is dirty; it's easy to get sick."

The community, which mainly lives in mud rondavels, often enquires about the slow pace of delivery, but they are told there is no money.

"[Minister of Finance] Trevor Manuel has just presented his Budget. We know money has been made available by the government, but it does not reach us. The question is what happens to it."
Mchunu says he sees no point in voting in the local government elections on Wednesday.

"Tell me one reason why I should vote. We always vote but our lives don't improve," he says, wiping his brow in the early-morning heat.

Monday, February 27, 2006

Durban squatters: no house, no vote

Hundreds of squatters, who marched to Durban's city hall in protest of poor housing, are not prepared to vote in the upcoming local government elections as they have had enough of "empty promises". Full Story...

InternAfrica - HouseIT

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

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Cape Town shack fire leaves hundreds homeless

About 90 people were left destitute after a fire in an informal settlement in Hout Bay, the Cape Town municipality said today.

Wilfred Solomons, the spokesperson for the city's disaster management service, said 52 shacks in the Mandela Park informal settlement were burnt down after an unattended candle tipped over in the early hours of yesterday morning. The man who left the candle unattended sustained first degree burns and was recovering in hospital. Sapa - SABC

I doubt that only 1.73 people live in a shack in Mandela Park, the fire average is 4 people per shack, and national housing average of 5 per shack. We estimate 221 citizens displaced by this habitat disaster.

Failed habitats

Matjhabeng in the Free State province is a good example. The sewage system has collapsed; old leaky water pipes result in frequent water shortages, with an estimated 40% of water lost.

Thousands in the area have no private access to water, and hundreds of people are forced to share single taps. More than 15,000 use what is euphemistically called the “bucket system” — a household bucket used as a toilet, with slopping out in communal dumps every morning. Across South Africa almost 900,000 people are forced to use the bucket system.

The growing frustration has been expressed in significant township rebellions and protests during the last two years. Tens of thousands of people across the country have refused to accept these conditions 12 years after the end of apartheid.

For example, since the middle of last year, there have been more than 50 large protests in towns and cities across South Africa. Every major city and provincial authority has been affected. Most have been triggered by the ANC’s failure to deliver basic services, and resistance to the introduction of user-pays for water and electricity services.

As Cape Town protester Mzwandile Qolintaba told Reuters on May 25: “I feel a lot of pain. We don’t have electricity, we don’t have toilets ... our children are sick because we don’t have any water. I am angry.”
Read more

Shack fire kills three in Cape Town

Three people burnt to death in a shack fire that broke out in Nyanga, Cape Town, shortly after midnight on Saturday.

Western Cape police Inspector Elliot Sinyangana said 68 shacks burnt down before emergency services workers put out the fire...

The shack fire follows another at Khayamnandi informal settlement at Stellenbosch on Friday in which around 1 000 shacks were razed.

Residents have since been housed in tents at a sports ground in the town. Read More

Friday, February 24, 2006

Children of fire.. and D.U.

With planning and developing housing within the international NO-GO zone as demonstrated in the radio-active housing report below... look at what trouble our children can run into..

I have loved Nina Hagen, since I was but a young freak, now even more! Om Nama shivay. I look forward to her wisdom on stage in Africa!

Look if you can stomach it. Graphic Images Children of D.U.

Global Research

See our other habitat disaster link Children of Fire

Arn't our children paying enough tax in our poor habitat planning and development, that we have to put them through this potential future... based on exsisting reported problems...? Is it not bad enough that we have a children of fire site already... Hello?

Lessen the foot print you leave behind on the planet build green. Energyhogs

Aliens, Councillors' families occupy homes

Wrong people getting RDP houses, say residents. Hundreds of RDP houses in Limpopo have been misallocated, claim local residents. They claim that corrupt officials have placed illegal immigrants in many of the houses. Councillors' families are also said to be living in them illegally.

The issue is particularly contentious in Musina, where there are many Zimbabwean illegal immigrants. SABC

doh - no power halts farms and threatens lives

Eskom has been blasted by Western Cape Agriculture MEC Cobus Dowry for not sticking to agreed load-shedding times.In a strongly worded statement, Dowry said farmers had been very willing to help Eskom out of their load predicament, but had instead suffered substantial financial damage as power cuts came at unexpected times... Read more

For some Capetonians, the current power supply problems are life threatening. For sufferers of many illnesses, electricity does not just provide basics such as light but powers essential medical treatment, without which they suffer severe discomfort and in some cases can die. Read More

Will conditions improve?

Cape Town - Nomthunzi Naphakade's mood switches between anger, shame and resignation as she surveys the shack she shares with her mother, sister, brother and two young children.
The roof of the two-room tin and cardboard structure leaks in the rain and its walls shake in the wind. There is no running water or electricity. The family toilet is a stinking bucket emptied once a week.

Naphakade says she has seen little improvement in conditions during the 25 years she has lived in the Crossroads settlement. And she holds out little hope of change any time soon despite the pledges of candidates in March 1 local elections to speed up delivery of basic services to the impoverished millions still waiting for a better life promised them at apartheid's end over a decade ago.

"We've always voted and we will this time as well," said her 66-year-old mother, Nopasile. "But we've never seen any difference. There have just been promises, but no change."

The mood is equally bleak at a squatter camp perched on a hill overlooking the busy N2 highway between the airport and city centre. The inhabitants named it Europe, wistfully conjuring up hopes of a better life.

Bright pages from a magazine serve as wallpaper in Norah Didi's lopsided Europe shack. She said it's the only colour and romance in her grim life.
Nearby slums

A nearby slum is called Barcelona because it was built on a dump as a "temporary" settlement in 1992, the same year as the Olympics in the Spanish city.

Barcelona is still a blot on the landscape of the bleak Cape Flats townships, as are many other shack settlements which have a depressingly permanent aura about them.

In Cape Town alone, there are an estimated 260 000 families on the waiting list for housing. Less than 12 000 new homes were built in 2004, down from a 1997-98 peak of 43 800.
Nationwide, the number of households in shacks rose from 1.45 million to 1.84 million - a 26% increase, according to housing ministry figures since the country's first all-race elections in 1994.
This was despite the government spending nearly R30bn to build about 1.8 million new homes in just under 12 years.

Even though the government has made strides toward overcoming the legacy of racist white rule and providing basic services, the challenge is huge. Some 16 million people out of the 48 million population remain without adequate sanitation and 3.7 million have no access to clean water.

President Thabo Mbeki has vowed that the bucket toilet system - currently used by 230 000 households - will be eradicated by 2007; that all communities will get clean water and decent sanitation by 2010; and electricity by 2012. He has also promised to replace all shacks with houses by 2014. NEWS24

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Mbekisburg is Nogo area for officials and owners

The Nkomazi Municipality could find itself in an uncomfortable situation during the Local Government Elections next week, if it does not resolve the housing problem at Hectorspruit.

The problem arose when residents from a nearby informal settlement invaded RDP houses meant for successful land claimants. The 150 houses were completed in 2004 for land claimants, who had successfully reclaimed their land in 1997.

The place, now called Mbekisburg, has become a no-go area for both municipal officials and the legal land and house owners. The issue is still awaiting a court hearing. In the meantime, the land claimants are still without proper housing. SABC

Informal dwellers march for houses

About 600 Mamelodi informal settlement residents have marched to the President Thabo Mbeki's office in protest against lack of service delivery and housing. They were holding placards reading "No stand no vote" and "No water, no electricity, no life".

The residents say they have been living in shacks for 16 years and have been promised land and Reconstruction and Development Programme (RDP) houses. SABC

Radio-Active Housing

A Cape High Court battle is looming about a proposed private development within a 5km radius of the Koeberg nuclear power station.

This comes after the City of Cape Town refused a rezoning application by the developers on the 250ha site, citing health risks raised by the national nuclear regulator.

However, the national nuclear regulator has said it will contest the application up to the Constitutional Court, citing health risks, radiological implications and slow evacuation speed as a result of the development's population density, in case of disaster at the power station.

Nu Plan Africa Town Planners, the agent for three landowners on the site, want to develop single residential units, commercial, agricultural, rural and private open spaces and road networks on the site.

This would see about 1 110 housing units and create about 10 000 temporary jobs in the next four years, and about 2 500 permanent jobs when the development is complete...

What will the children look like, when the next nut gets loose DU Babies. (Graphic Images)

Power cuts cost Cape firms R500m - Sacob

Stand-in: Grape seller John Koopman directs traffic at the M3-Kirstenbosch intersection in Cape Town after a power outage. Passing motorists said he did a fantastic job. Related story Photo: Ian Landsberg, Cape Argus

Businesses in the Western Cape have lost about R500-million due to Eskom power outages, the South African Chamber of Businesses has said. Full Story...

Millions lost as blackout nightmare lingers

Industries reeling as outages curb production

Powerless homes, hospitals, government, business & People

Dark days: Western Cape Premier Ebrahim Rasool, talking to journalists about the power shortages, stands in darkness during a blackout at the provincial legislature. Full Story Photo: Andrew Ingram, Cape Times

Power cuts cripple hospitals: Non-emergency surgery at Cape Town hospitals was put on hold and high court cases were postponed on Wednesday as Cape Town endured its fourth day of crippling power cuts.
The major significance of load shedding.... After three hours and 55 minutes without power, I am finally able to write a few more reflections about the treatment of electricity subscribers by nameless ones lucky not to have a fatwa imposed on them...

But all is not enforced gloom and futuristic doom.

The electrical roulette we are all playing at the moment has virtually given everyone an excuse for anything.For the trains being late, for not getting to work on time or at all, or for eventually arriving home in an inebriated state ("There was one huge traffic jam out of the city, dear, so the only thing one could do was sit in the pub and wait for it to clear").

At last government agencies have something tangible to blame for non-delivery.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Agriculture Minister shields fraud, corruption and delivery failure

More than a year after two damning reports of financial mismanagement at the Agricultural Research Council (ARC), potentially costing R150-million, no action has been taken against the senior staffers indicted in the report. In fact, Minister of Agriculture and Land Affairs Thoko Didiza stepped in to reverse the suspension of the ARC’s chief financial officer, Lazarus Gopane.

ANC fails to live up to its promises

They resemble scenes from another era: angry crowds, clashes with police, shots, teargas and petrol bombs. Twelve years after apartheid ended, some townships are again burning. This time the target is not a racist white regime but the African National Congress, the liberation movement which swept to power in 1994 on a wave of euphoria and the promise of a better life for all.

The ruling party is facing a serious and occasionally violent revolt in downtrodden communities, resulting in no-go areas for its members. Councillors have been beaten, shot and burned out of their homes. Party meetings have been ambushed. Several local branches have disbanded or gone underground. M&G

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Weeds / Cannabrick homes tonight 22H30

“Little boxes, Little boxes
made of ticky tackey
& the people in the houses
All went to the university
Where they were put in boxes
& they all came out the same”
Except the houses made from cannabricks
the rest all look just the same

SA Housing MEC to facilitate building homes in DRC and not SA

With the violent and clear protests that have been held recently showing the frustrations of those affected by the habitat crisis in South Africa, one would think that the minister of housing Lindiwe Sisulu, would be wise to focus her energy in her own country and her own people. Rather than waste tax payers money in a conference to facilitate homes being built in the DRC.

No less at the most expensive resort available in south Africa.
Read More

Friday 17 Feb 09H08: Conversation with Lindiwe's PA

Mareldia – PA to Housing Minister Lindiwe Sisulu

InternAfrica made telephonic contact with the office of the minister. We spoke to Mareldia, to enquire for the 16th time what has happened to the request for a meeting with the housing minister to address her request for Business and Civil Society to meet the challenge of the housing crisis in the Western Cape. As requested 30 October 2005 in an email.

Mareldia asked that the email be sent again, as ‘housing receive many requests from the public" We noted that the original email, had been received according to tracking information and we forwarded the email again. Again noting that tracking information showed the email received and opened.

We contacted Mareldia again this morning to confirm the receipt of the email: Subject: Appeal by Minister Sisulu to solve Housing Crisis - Request for meeting to meet this challenge. – RESUBMISSION

When I asked when I could expect a response,

Mareldia: "what sort of response do you want?’

InternAfrica: "the subject line requests a meeting with the housing minister, a response pertaining to this is what we require"

Mareldia: "there is a process in this office and the minister decides who she wants to talk to and we are busy electioneering, I can not commit to anything"

When asked if she had received the email, Mareldia commented that the housing MEC’s office were out at the N2 Gateway project yesterday…

Electioneering -

We still await a response from the Minister and her PA./

The request for a meeting is 5 months old, the promise of a response is three weeks old, the Public Protector has been copied on all correspondence as it is his duty to investigate undue and improper delays...

MECs could lose jobs for "failure to produce results"

THREE Eastern Cape MECs are expected to be in the firing line ahead of a provincial Cabinet reshuffle likely to take place after the March 1 elections.

The corridors of power in Bhisho were alive yesterday with speculation that Finance MEC Billy Nel, Health MEC Bevan Goqwana and Housing and Local Government MEC Sam Kwelita were facing the chop.

It would be imprtant to note that the housing MEC follows in the previous Housing MEC Mamasa who is facing charges of fruad and corruption, with lack of delivery. Dispatch

3 important Northern Cape figures accused of multi-million rand housing fraud and theft

NPA to attach properties of fraud accusedFebruary 21, 2006, 14:30
The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) is attaching the property of three important Northern Cape figures accused of multi-million rand housing fraud and theft. The accused are Hoffman Galeng, a former Vryburg mayor, Nelson Xolani, the head of housing at the Vryburg Council, and Mogamat Abdurazak Cader, a Kimberley businessman.

About R18 million is said to be involved. The money was allegedly for the building of low-cost houses in the Huhudi Township of the North West province. The houses have not been built.

Mashay Gamieldien, a police spokesperson, says the property value of the three accused amounts to about R7 million. Gamildien says Cader's property has already been seized and attached in Kimberley. She says Galeng's property and that of his other co-accused in the Vryburg Council will also be seized soon. SABC

While two other developments and housing deals take place Stellenbosch (note that the land must be handed over carefully (the capes are not showing a good track record of this) , and Olivenhoutbosch that clearly have over inflated prices, of R45 000 and R80 000 per unit...

When a cannabrick home 3 times the size will cost R20 000 including windows, doors, fittings, and sanitation.

Friday, February 17, 2006

Housing MEC will get to work after the elections by targeting smokers in cars

oy wrong porfolio...

WESTERN Cape Local Government and Housing MEC Richard Dyantyi gave the province’s mayors and municipal managers a stern warning yesterday that service delivery should begin the day after the March 1 elections. The Herald

After the money and corruption has been swept aside and new money is oggeled see above, see here:

ah yes and the butt of the joke, how a housing minister should spend his time...

Western Cape smokers may have to watch where they put their cigarette butts if a new bylaw is passed. Housing and local government MEC Richard Dyantyi was to present a draft bylaw to all municipalities on Thursday that seeks to penalise smokers who throw their burning cigarette butts out of car windows. "MEC Dyantyi will convene with all municipalities and present this draft bylaw that makes throwing cigarette butts out of the car window an illegal act. We must deal with stompie gooiers ( butt throwers) and a minimal penalty must be put in place."

If we the public were to ask for evidence that stompie gooiers, of 'n ge-gooide stompie die aard van die kwaad is?

Is there ANY evdidence that a ciggarette will start a fire, when thrown out the window...?

and compared to fires started by broken glass...?

What Bullshit!

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Western Cape N2 solution 'may have a problem'

Opposition parties have expressed concern about the appointment of Thubelisha Homes as project manager for the N2 Gateway, although they have welcomed Housing Minister Lindiwe Sisulu's acknowledgement that the development is in trouble.

Hansie Louw, Western Cape leader of the African Christian Democratic Party (ACDP), has questioned the financial viability of the company.

Thubelisha's annual report had reported a R14-million loss up to March 31 last year, he said.

According to its website, however, the company has since been given a R50-million grant by the government.Louw also said the replacement of the management of the project did not address the problem of late payment...

Although a deadline of June last year was set for occupation of the first units completed, the City of Cape Town has yet to announce when people may move in.Questions put to the city yesterday were referred to national spokesman for the N2 Gateway, Saths Moodley, who said he would comment on Tuesday... Cape Times

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Weeds ~ Little Boxes of cannabrick houses

“Little boxes, Little boxes made of ticky tackey
& the people in the houses
All went to the university
Where they were put in boxes
& they all came out the same”
Except the houses made from cannabricks
the rest all look just the same

Monday, February 13, 2006

Habitat in Crisis

  1. Khayelitsha residents stone councillor's home Police on Sunday night said 300 Khayelitsha residents dissatisfied with a lack of housing demonstrated outside the home of a ward councillor, stoning it.
  2. Orange Farm shacks damaged by floods At least 150 shacks in Orange Farm, south of Johannesburg, have been damaged by flash floods following heavy rains in the area, Emergency Management Services (EMS) said tonight.Gavin Wilson, the EMS spokesperson, said the city's disaster management team was called to area and efforts to move the affected to a safer place were under way. He said between 400 to 600, "or even more" could be affected by the floods.
  3. 35 mud houses collapse after heavy rains at Broedersput near Delareyville in the North West. Charles Loolwane, the mayor of Tswaing municipality, says the municipality will provide alternative accommodation and food for the local residents whose houses have collapsed.Loolwane says they have contacted the disaster management to assist with tents because most of the houses have fallen and they are mud build houses. He says they are providing shelter by giving them tents, as alternative accommodation and they will also contact social development for food parcels because some of the victims don't have food.

Waiting to go home 40 years on

Poetry Photo: Gary van Wyk, Sunday Argus

Bureaucratic "mumbo jumbo" and NIMBY are among the reasons for the slow pace of delivery in District Six.

Read More

See More... D6 Life today Photos: Africannabis.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

SA solar research eclipses rest of the world

In a scientific breakthrough that has stunned the world, a team of South African scientists has developed a revolutionary new, highly efficient solar power technology that will enable homes to obtain all their electricity from the sun.This means high electricity bills and frequent power failures could soon be a thing of the past.

The unique South African-developed solar panels will make it possible for houses to become completely self-sufficient for energy supplies. The panels are able to generate enough energy to run stoves, geysers, lights, TVs, fridges, computers - in short all the mod-cons of the modern house. Photo: Anton Hammerl, Saturday Argus

The new technology should be available in South Africa within a year and through a special converter, energy can be fed directly into the wiring of existing houses...

Production will start next month and the factory will run 24 hours a day, producing more than 1 000 panels a day to meet expected demand... Read More

Friday, February 10, 2006

Western Cape a priority for eradication of shacks

Lindiwe Sisulu, the housing minister, says the Western Cape will be given priority in their plans and efforts to create a shack free society. Sisulu visited the Kayamandi Informal Settlement in Stellenbosch that was ravaged by a fire on Tuesday.

It is estimated that the fire left about 800 people homeless after gutting more than 200 shacks. Sisulu says she is concerned that the country has still not come up with a strategy to deal with the persistent problem of shack fires.

Department of housing has committed itself to providing housing for shack dwellers

Meanwhile urgent plans are in the pipeline to move the Joe Slovo fire victims into the first phase of the N2 Gateway project. Similar projects are expected to be launched in other vulnerable informal settlements.

Despite the troubles expereinced in tehe N2 Gateway development; government is going to reapply a failed example. SABC

Just like the fire 'starter-kit' of poles, sheet metal and plastic, every time there's a fire, residents get another flamable starter kit.

Twins burn to death in Limpopo shack fire

A twin boy and girl burned to death in Limpopo on Thursday afternoon after their mother apparently left them alone at home while she went shopping, police said. Investigators would also determine whether the children were locked inside the house. Preventable Tragedy

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Minister of housing Sisulu admits to housing failure

And governments ability to resolve the habitat crisis in the western cape, Ma says I told you so .
And outsources the problem to a venture the developers or Africannabis had heard of till today.

Housing Minister Lindiwe Sisulu has admitted that the country's flagship housing project, the N2 Gateway, has been a "terrible learning curve".

Sisulu was called to a meeting in November by aggrieved developers who complained they had not received a cent for several months. She had to intervene to ensure they were paid.

The N2 Gateway project is a joint venture between the city, the province and the national government.

Sisulu said she was pleased that this was the biggest housing project in the country's history "even though it's been a terrible experience for us and we are all scarred".

The project was planned as a blueprint for the upgrading of housing projects elsewhere, and is part of the government's goal to eradicate all informal settlements by 2010.In an effort to prevent a repeat of the problem, Sisulu said the cabinet would appoint a "special purpose vehicle" or project management organisation, Thubelisha Homes, to oversee the project.

"It cannot be run by a city or a municipality however good intentions might be: the government is not structured to respond to the pace of industry. We are dealing with taxpayers' money and therefore there are certain steps that have to be taken and certain securities we've got to be assured of."

The decision would be applied to all the government's mega projects in future, she said.

However, N2 Gateway developers said yesterday they were not aware of Thubelisha Homes . A spokesman for the Sobambisana consortium, Andre September, said the developers were still being paid through the City of Cape Town.

"Outside the government we might have a more efficient delivery mechanism. It's been a terrible learning curve," the minister said. Cape Argus

DA lays criminal charge against housing MEC over Bitou corruption probe

THE DA laid a criminal charge against Western Cape Local Government and Housing MEC Richard Dyantyi yesterday for failing to release the findings of a high-level Bitou corruption investigation six weeks after promising to do so.

The charge was laid in Cape Town in terms of the Prevention and Combating of Corruption and Corrupt Activities Act by DA spokesman on corruption and MPL Robin Carlisle. The move follows accusations by the DA that Dyantyi was dragging his feet when it came to the probe of widespread corruption in the Bitou municipality. Read Full Article

Rat-tailed maggots infest Boland river

The Plankenbrug River in Stellenbosch has become so polluted with human excreta that "rat-tailed maggots", found in toilet pits, have colonised the water.

If the river water is swallowed by humans, the maggot causes myiasis, characterised by severe diarrhoea. This can be serious for young children or people who have tuberculosis or HIV.

The E. coli content of the river, measured two weeks ago, was an enormous nine million organisms in every 100ml of water. The safe limit in South Africa is 2 000 in 100ml.

'The municipality had told us the problem of the polluted river was solved'

The Plankenbrug flows into the Eerste River, from which farmers draw water to irrigate crops. The polluted river flows into the sea at Macassar. Read Full environmental tragedy

State attempts to combat engineers shortage

Municipalities around the country have failed to spend R1,2-billion from the Municipal Infrastructure Grant due to a dire shortage of engineers and other skilled professionals.

This is according to the Western Cape Department of Transport and Public Works MEC Marius Fransman, who said municipalities around the country struggled to spend R1,2-billion last year because they do not have the necessary technical capacity in scarce skills to help in the development of infrastructure in their areas.

In fact, 74 percent of professional posts in local government are vacant, according to a government report.

Municipalities around the country struggled to spend R1,2-billion.

South African engineers do no fare much better as there are only 14 900 for a population of 45-million - a number 10 times below the world norm, the government report says. In addition, 10 percent of all South African engineers and quantity surveyors have emigrated since 1998.

Only 1,5 percent of matriculants pass with maths and science of high enough standard to do engineering, the report adds.Similar to the national experience, the Western Cape Department of Transport and Public Works reported a 41 percent vacancy rate for engineering posts, most of which have been vacant for more than four years. Full Story

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Kayamandi fire razes dozens of shacks

Between 150 and 200 shacks burned down in the old part of Kayamandi informal settlement on Tuesday in the first large fire in the Stellenbosch area in more than a year.
Four of the shacks belonged to Working on Fire volunteers. The fire began when a paraffin stove exploded in a volunteer's shack. The wind-driven blaze sent a cloud of smoke billowing above the university town. Full Story

In the Shadow of the Mountain - Special Assignment

To some, Bergville, the gateway to the Drakensberg, is synonymous with dagga. It’s one of the top dagga producers of the world and the informal economy of the area is based on the sale of it.

The play “Bergville Stories” tells of the fateful day in the 1950’s, when police raided the dagga fields. They were set upon by furious Amangwane tribesmen and five policemen were killed. 22 tribesmen were sentenced to death and hanged on the same morning. It’s said that from that time one, Bergville fell off the map.

Playwright Duma ka Ndlovu: “Party because of this incident, development never came to Bergville, so the inhabitants were left on their own to fend for themselves…they went to the mountains to grow more dagga…”

On Tuesday, Special Assignment travels to Bergville and examines the lack of development in this IFP heartland. In the eighties, the area was a flash point when people were forcibly removed to make way for Woodstock Dam. The Nkosi of the Amangwane, Tshanibezwe Hlongwane, was sent into exile by the KwaZulu Homeland Government for leading the violent protests.

78-yr old elder Hlela Mlambo remembers: “He caused a lot of pain to the Amangwane…a King is meant to ensure that war does not reach his people…he lost the throne because he did not stop it”. Bizarrely, Nkosi Tshanibezwe died on the day he was reinstated as leader of the Amangwane by the ANC Government in 2002. Last year, his son, Menzi Hlongwane, took over as head of the traditional authority. He’s young, hip, and always in the company of a group of even younger friends, which raises eyebrows.

“He is too young and confused. He needs to surround himself by wise men who know about our culture to strengthen his kingdom”, says a disapproving elder.
He may be considered young and confused, but 24-yr-old Nkosi Menzi Hlongwane has no qualms about speaking out about why this area is amongst the most underdeveloped in the country. “Politics in this area brings tears to my eyes…to everyone’s eyes! Look at this valley – there are only 4 toilets that have been delivered by the Municipality. So people shit in the river and soon we’ll all have cholera. And those 4 toilets only went to people with IFP membership cards…there’s no progress, no electricity, no water…we drink with the cows!” In the royal kraal, a flashy hi-fi system with powerful speakers also waits patiently for development to come to the Drakensberg.

The young chief isn’t the only one who believes that delivery here is party political. Landowner Josiah Gumede: “The IFP is leading the local government and that’s why we can’t breathe. Local Government is not listening to me. They don’t take my complaints – what must I do??”

IN THE SHADOW OF THE MOUNTAIN, examines local government’s lack of delivery in Okhahlamba, the barrier of spears. It is directed Jessica Pitchford and was filmed by Bryon Taylor, Roy Freeman.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Weeds / Cannabrick homes tonight 22H30

“Little boxes, Little boxes
made of ticky tackey
& the people in the houses
All went to the university
Where they were put in boxes
& they all came out the same”
Except the houses made from cannabricks
the rest all look just the same

Low cost housing

Talks between the housing department and banks on the commitment to expend R42 billion on low cost housing are slow. When asked why this is, Lindiwe Sisulu, the housing minister, said she was also frustrated and did not know how much longer negotiations were going to take. However her report stated that a meeting scheduled for March 16 would look into a research that has just been completed on the proposal for the private sector to contribute 20% of its developments into affordable housing.

The minister did not have the statistics of
how many houses
have been built since 1994.

Meanwhile, the social development department received 516 cases of social grants fraud but only 128 convictions were secured. The department said it would speed up investigations of the 12 000 public servants who have been found to be defrauding the system.

Major existing roads are set to get a face-lift from the Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP). More than R4.48 billion will be allocated to the provinces and municipalities for road construction and maintenance. SABC
InternAfrica; B1 Projects & HouseIT have been waiting on Minister Sisulu to address our request for a meeting to put forward a solution. Apparently according to the ministers secretary
Mnodobeko (+2712.421.1309) there is an answer in the mail...
According to the Public Protector - the Local Western Cape Minister of government and housing Richard Dyanti is also going to get back to us...

State plans to halve poverty by 2014

The government on Monday gave some meat to its plan to slash South Africa's high unemployment and poverty rates by half in the next eight years.

The vehicle for (this time, is the Accelerated and Shared Growth Initiative for SA (Asgi-SA). Deputy President Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka said on Monday that tourism and business process outsourcing (BPO) would be tackled first. The BPO sector had the potential for 100 000 jobs by 2009.

The expanded public works programme would be extended and entail about R4,5-billion in additional funds, leading to about 63 000 more people maintaining roads and about 100 000 in jobs averaging six months. Read Full Promise

"It's about who Promises Loudest" - NN

Charges against MEC over Bitou corruption probe ‘cover-up’

WESTERN Cape Local Government and Housing MEC Richard Dyantyi told the DA yesterday that the results of the highly publicised Bitou corruption investigation would be released “in due course”.

However, the DA said it planned to go ahead with the laying of criminal charges against Dyantyi today, after the MEC failed to meet the deadline the party had set for him to release the findings by noon yesterday.

The threat to lay charges against Dyantyi follows accusations by the DA that the MEC is dragging his heels on the probe into alleged corruption in the Bitou municipality. The Special Investigating Unit has probed claims of massive misuse of municipal credit cards, falsification of claims on the Bitou council for personal enrichment, and double claims for personal benefit on luxurious overseas trips. Full Story

South Africans 'have right to be different'

Every South African has the right to be different, Deputy Chief Justice Dikgang Moseneke told South Africa. M&G

SA land expropriation to start soon

South Africa will from next month start large-scale expropriations of land from white farmers after years of compensation negotiations proved unsuccessful, a top official said on Monday. M&G

ThokoDidiza says she is happy with the land claims process taking place in the Limpopo province, despite anecdotal evidence that the process is running as smooth as it should be. She says she will only react once queries have been brought to her attention... SABC

3 Months ago ...
Expropriated farms collapsed due to lack of skills; as in Zimbabwe.
November 01, 2005

Thoko Didiza, the land affairs minister, will today address a shock finding that most of the 70 farms, bought by the Limpopo government for R100 million under a Land Acquisition Grant Programme, have collapsed.

A National Council of Provinces (NCOP) and MEC delegation that visited several of the farms, found that most of the projects had failed due to a lack of skills and funds. The farms were bought between 1997 and 2002 for communities who opted for farming instead of RDP housing projects. SABC

Street Kids promised help

By a man who right along side these kinds of promises:

"There is empirical evidence that they ultimately enable children to overcome the socio-economic barriers that entrench inter-generational poverty in households."Skweyiya said a recent study found that social grants play a critical role in reducing poverty and promoting social development.

Appears implicated (by being the head of the social fund) in years of fraud and corruption

Zola Skweyiya Google Fraud & Corruption : "The Minister of Social Development, Dr Zola Skweyiya, has welcomed... Government loses about R1.5 billion per annum to fraud and corruption...

Save the SA Street Child's "NAME" from further exploitation!

Development without planning or consultation

The City of Cape Town and Western Cape government are to announce plans today for affordable housing on the Green Point Common.

The sad thing is this announcement was made by the minister of 'sport' not housing...

Monday, February 06, 2006

4 News Networks reflect Gov habitat failure

  1. 'Government's to blame for high house prices' The government, not foreign ownership, is to blame for South Africa's soaring house prices, say industry specialists, after President Thabo Mbeki announced the state would regulate foreign ownership of property this year.
  2. Slow delivery due to lack of skills In an interview last night with the SABC, President Mbeki said the lack of skills was the actual cause of slow delivery in the municipalities.Mbeki also said that the housing department is expected to reach a final agreement on the modalities for utilising the R42 billion set aside by the financial institutions for housing developments for poor and middle-income groups.
  3. Mbeki's speech 'overlooked key challenges' The land issue had been "thrown out like a curved ball", whereas the real problems were issues like the failures in local government. The suggestion was that "we're going to plough more money into the same failed policies", whereas fundamental change was needed, Leon said. "Cadres have been brought in who have no experience, who were rewarded for their party loyalty, not for their professional competence,"
  4. Councils spurn community workers Two-thirds of the government’s community development workers -- the grassroots civil servants deployed by President Thabo Mbeki to boost local government services -- have failed to find jobs in municipalities in the Western Cape.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Young, rich, black... and driving "their" African boom

South Africa's upwardly mobile professionals are flaunting their new wealth. But while they thrive in a resurgent country, impoverished millions are still struggling to survive in the townships Rory Carroll in Johannersburg Sunday February 5, 2006 M&G

They drive sleek cars, dress to kill and spend like there's no tomorrow. Twelve years after the demise of apartheid, the children of South Africa's revolution have found a way to celebrate freedom: shopping.

In ways unimaginable to their grandparents, a generation of black upwardly mobile professionals, dubbed 'buppies', is splashing out in a display of power and wealth that is driving a consumer boom. From Cape Town to Johannesburg, retailers report record sales in property, fashion, jewellery and luxury vehicles, a giddy exuberance amid the economy's sixth successive year of growth.

Spotlight: The housing shortfall

The housing shortfall in Alexandra eastern Johannesburg, will be under the spotlight in the Pretoria High Court on March 6 as MEC to give evidence over Alexandra. Sunday Times
Picture: Mbuzeni Zulu

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Mayor draws heat as fire rages

As the political row about funding intensifies, firemen have slammed as "cheap talk" a denial by Cape Town Mayor Nomaindia Mfeketo of any knowledge of shortages in the fire services. Full Story

Cape firefighters on red alert as fires rage: Table Mountain, the Peninsula and Southern Cape are on red alert as firefighters battle 11 more blazes and hot, dry and windy weather has been forecast until the weekend.

On Wednesday temperatures are expected to reach a maximum of 34°C in Cape Town, a sizzling 38°C in Worcester and Paarl and 36°C in Oudtshoorn.On Thursday Cape Town is expected to swelter with 31°C, Paarl and Worcester a scorching 38°C and Oudtshoorn 40°C.

Firefighter collapses of smoke inhalation Firefighters had another exhausting day as they battled blazes on several fronts in scorching hot and windy conditions across the Peninsula.

On Tuesday Oranjezicht and Tamboerskloof residents again faced the prospect of losing their homes, days after a huge fire on the slopes of Table Mountain came perilously close to doing so.

Residents in Lusaka informal settlement near Nyanga were less fortunate after a shack fire destroyed four homes. Veld fires also raged in Rondevlei, Slangkop, Ocean View and Red Hill.

Nomawethu Dayimani's home, which she shares with her five children, was destroyed.Dayimani said: "This is so bad I can't believe this is happening again. When they called me at work to tell me, I didn't believe it but now I can see the damage." This is the second time she has had to start from scratch - her home also burnt down about two years ago.
InternAfrica is a not-for-profit organisation addressing the Cape Habitat Crisis through education of sustainable green building methods as demonstrated here on HouseIT