Concourt closes loophole used in municipal evictions

GroundUp reports that In a unanimous judgement, the Constitutional Court recently ordered the Govan Mbeki Municipality in Mpumalanga to have meaningful engagement with 200 families it had twice tried to evict in 2013. The municipality sought a court eviction order and an interdict to prevent the residents from erecting structures. This order could be obtained without giving the residents notice of the application or an opportunity to come before the court until the order had already been granted.

The court ordered the municipality to meaningfully engage with the residents in order to find a reasonable solution which accords with Section 26 of the Constitution. The order went further to stipulate that the municipality is required to proactively seek the participation of the residents. The judgement closes a loophole municipalities exploited seeking evictions without meaningful engagement. The onus is not on the residents to ensure this engagement takes place.

by Safura Abdool Karim

A multimillion rand farm in Southern Cape lies dormant

SABC News reports that a multimillion rand farm in the Southern Cape, bought as part of the Land Redistribution programme, is lying dormant. The Department of Rural Development and Land Reform paid R7.5 million for the cattle farm near Mossel Bay in 2011. A further R2.5 million was spent on upgrades and developments. But the beneficiaries, the Southern Cape Agriculture Cooperative, claim they never received cattle, as promised.

Beneficiaries received training as well as assets to run the farm. Operations are on hold because government allegedly back-tracked on its promise to supply cattle. Government has refuted the claims. Vuyani Nkasayi, spokesperson of the Department of Rural Development says: “I would like to place it on record that, from the onset there was never any agreement that there will be any purchase of cattle for Mr Biki. The Public Protector is investigating the claims of the beneficiaries.

by Sphiwe Hobasi

Cop accused in sexual harassment case: Sergeant charges station commander

Dispatch Live reports that the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (Ipid) is investigating a sexual harassment case against a top Eastern Cape policeman. The senior officer allegedly sexually assaulted a policewoman and made inappropriate sexual comments towards her.

The harassment case was opened last month at a Buffalo City Metro police station after the officer, who is a station commander, allegedly touched the breasts of a female sergeant at his station on September 18. The policewoman is said to be receiving counselling over her alleged ordeal, and has refused to go back to work for the past three weeks after her pleas to provincial police bosses for a transfer were not heeded. Ipid spokesman Moses Dlamini who confirmed that Ipid had completed its investigation and that recommendations had been prepared for the National Prosecuting Authority to decide.

by Asanda Nini

Motsoaledi announced centralised ambulance call centre

IOL News reports that in the future there will only be one emergency number to call for an ambulance and the procurement of medical equipment will be done by the national health department, said Health Minister Dr Aaron Motsoaledi. He said preparations were already being made for the procurement of medical equipment, such as cancer radiotherapy machines, mammograms and various scanners to be centrally purchased.

The services of all ambulance services be they private or state, would only be allowed to be summoned by calling that one single number. He pointed out that his department was not against the private sector, but that it wanted the private sector to serve more people. He said that people failed to realise that state employees and contributions from the state to the private medical sector amount to R46 billion annually. He said that currently the private health sector only services 16 percent of the country’s population.

by Giordano Stolley

Robertson Winery takes striking workers to court

eNCA reports that Robertson Winery and its workers have taken their fight to court, with the company accusing strikers of intimidating and assaulting replacement workers. Court-ordered mediation between the two parties failed this week.

Workers claim none of their demands was conceded to, while Robertson claims the union  simply walked out of negotiations. The strike, nearing three months, is over low wages and an allegedly untransformed work environment.

SANDF to increase intake of women

eNCA reports that the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) is undergoing voluntary military skills development training to increase its intake of women. Members of Parliament have expressed concern over the low number of females represented in the SANDF.

The Department of Defence and Military Veterans briefed the Joint Standing Committee on Defence in Parliament on Friday. MPs raised questions about the armed forces commitment to transformation, particularity about the low number of women in  senior positions. They comprise only 18% of senior ranks.

Senior Acsa employees face disciplinary action

BusinessLive reports that several senior employees at Airports Company SA (Acsa) will face disciplinary action for allegedly violating supply chain management regulations. Although the company did not reveal the names of the employees implicated in the matter, Business Day understands that CEO Bongani Maseko and Percy Sithole, the procurement manager at OR Tambo International Airport, are among those who have been given presuspension notices. They have been asked to provide reasons why they should not be suspended.

The handling of the matter involving Exclusive Books is said to be at the centre of the move to suspend the Acsa executives. In September, the Supreme Court of Appeal dismissed an appeal by Acsa, preventing the airport operator from evicting Exclusive Books from one of its stores in OR Tambo International Airport. Acsa had sought to overturn a judgment of the High Court in Johannesburg, which ruled in favour of Exclusive Books against Acsa’s bid to evict it after the contract to run the store was awarded to a shelf company.

by Bekezela Phakathi

Shrinking wage bill hits tax revenue collections

BusinessLive reports that revenue collections have fallen R23bn short of what was projected in the February budget, with R12.5bn of this shortfall coming from personal income tax and R8bn from VAT. The latest tax revenue forecast of R1.3-trillion for 2016-17 compared with the budget’s forecast of R1.32-trillion was due to “significant reductions in major tax bases including wages, household consumption and imports”, the medium-term budget policy statement said.

The economic contraction in the first quarter of 2016 had led to lower personal income tax receipts.  “Growth in the wage bill, the tax base for personal income tax, has been revised down by more than one percentage point on average over the medium term,” the statement added.  Treasury expects some recovery in the second half of the year.

Gauteng hosts rail safety summit just days after fatal Tembisa crash

TMG Digital reports that the Gauteng government will hosting a two-day summit on Friday and Saturday aimed at “tackling topics that are sure to raise a nerve with the users of rail”. It comes at the end of a week that saw two Metrorail trains collide head-on near Tembisa‚ leaving one dead and 243 injured.  After Tuesday’s crash‚ Metrorail Lillian Mofokeng insisted that rail was “still the safest mode of public transport” and said the preliminary cause of the crash was “human error”.

The Gauteng Provincial Legislature said its summit would give “train commuters an opportunity to air their views and suggestions with organised formations to process and account to”.  Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Roads and Transport, Jacob Khawe, noted that the “rail system has been inundated with inefficiencies and delays that have a socio-impact on commuters”.

Ref: TimesLive