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- Welkom, Orkney families pray for relief from Pamod...
- Farmers wage fight against polluting mines
- Who in Dokkum opens a new salon in a recession?
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- A Stuijt
- Retired South African medical journalist, ex-Sunday Times of Johannesburg.
Refinancing for Padmozi gold fails to arrive… http://www.digitaljournal.com/article/269516 ■
Updated: April 17 2009 - Relatives and friends of 4,000 destitute miners and their 40,000 family members held a prayer vigil yesterday in the Free State, Volksblad newspaper reports. They were begging for the financial rescue of Pamodzi Gold Mining company, which is declaring bankruptcy this week. The miners had not been paid properly for months. An emergency feeding scheme had to be launched by Solidarity Trade Union’s helping hand organisation just to feed these families in the towns of Welkom and Orkney, South Africa. Despite the fact that this mine has a proven record of being one of the top and most consistent gold producers in the country, and the fact that the price of gold now is nearing the $900 per troy ounce mark, they have nevertheless asked for bankruptcy procedures to start. The black-entitlement-owned mining company Pamodzi Gold Mining went into liquidation on April 2, 2009, yet it’s also sitting on top of one of the richest gold reserves in the world.
An emergency fund was set up in February this year by South African trade union Solidarity to help feed the 4,000 mineworkers and their families at Padmodzi gold in Welkom: , who since October last year have been consistently underpaid or paid very late by this previously so productive Free State gold mine.
The company – which also operates two Orkney mines in North West province – now has gone into liquidation. And none of its miners have been paid for half-February and March. Their medical aid funds have also been left unpaid for months.
Solidarity trade union has called on the banking community to support Padmodzi Gold with new loans because of the ‘massive socio-economic impact the closure of these mines will have on the city of Welkom and Orkney.’ http://www.solidariteit.co.za/Tuis/tuis.php
Promised Pamodzi Gold Funding fails to arrive
Johannesburg - Provisional liquidators at Pamodzi Gold mines will ask the court on Friday to take the debt-ridden company's East Rand and Free State mines out of judicial management and put them into provisional liquidation, after the Tuesday deadline for a fresh injection of funds was missed.
- "We gave them until 10am today [Tuesday], but the funds have not arrived," provisional liquidator Enver Motala told Miningmx.
According to Motala, Pretoria-based attorneys for offshore commodity brokerage Best Rock - which has long been in talks with Pamodzi Gold to arrange funding for the junior gold producer - said there had been hope of a letter from a European bank – which would have confirmed refunding for about R200m would be available. This promise had staved off the judicial management process, however the attorneys for brokerage Best Rock said the letter did not arrive.
- "Even if those companies (East Rand and Free State mining operations) are placed into provisional liquidation, it doesn't mean that if the funds come in they can't still be rescued," he said. That’s why there was a prayer vigil yesterday.
Creditors owed R1billion…
All of Pamodzi's operating assets, including its Orkney mines, will be in provisional liquidation, a process whereby the liquidators can look for buyers of the assets to raise funds and repay creditors who are owed well over R1bn. Motala reckons the promised R200m is the bare minimum needed to restart the East Rand and Free State operations.
- "These mines are in a very distressed state. The funds have to come quickly.
"The R200m, in my view, will just kickstart the operations. We are going to need a lot more than that. We can't do with any less than that."
Agreements have been signed between the provisional liquidators of the Orkney mines and mining services group JIC for mining to resume there from April 15. It will take about a week before mining actually starts, as regulatory requirements like health checks have to be met first.
JIC has said it aims to produce 80kg to 90kg of gold in the first month and build up to about 160kg, at which point the operation will break even financially.
- Any profits will be split equally between JIC and the liquidators, who will bank the money towards paying the mine's creditors.
JIC is putting in about R20m of its own money to resume mining at Orkney. It will take up to four months to reach the previous 160kg production level, at which time the mine's full staff complement of 2,400 will be ‘re-employed’ – even though they were never fired: they simply weren’t paid any longer…
Hedge agreement hassle
"We hope to do a similar thing at the East Rand and Free State mines to what we did at Orkney. We're speaking to JIC about it, but they don't want to deal with the hedge book at the East Rand mines," Motala said.
"They will not look at East Rand until the onerous hedge is crystallised or it's not there anymore."
The provisional liquidators have met with the European counterparties to the hedge. "We had very good discussions with the principals last week, and we're going to talk to them again this afternoon.
"They understand the seriousness of the situation and we're hoping we can map out a way forward with them," Motala said.
The hedge book, or an agreement to sell future gold production at set prices, last stood at 100 000 ounces at $350/oz, a level well below what it cost Pamodzi to extract the gold. The current gold price is $891/oz, which means Pamodzi is losing money with every ounce it delivers into that contract.
Market watchers believe the onerous hedge book, which Pamodzi inherited when it bought the East Rand mines from Canada's Bema, as well as its rapid growth in buying the Orkney and Free State mines lie at the heart of its problems.
Pamodzi did not have the money to recapitalise its acquisitions, and its funding plans first unveiled a year ago have never really taken off.
Under the provisional liquidation order, the liquidators can cancel the hedge agreement but it would then crystallize (set) at that point and the counterparties would become a secured creditor. This is just one option the provisional liquidators are considering.
Pamodzi management asked for the company's shares to be suspended on the JSE.
Miners’ angry attempt to assault manager
On April 11 2009, Kea’ Modimoeng of the Sowetan wrote that things got badly out of hand that angry gold-miners nearly assaulted the acting general manager of Pamodzi Gold in Welkom because they hadn't been paid in six weeks.
- Tempers flared when workers handed over a memorandum to management demanding all their wages, Sowetan writes.
They'd only received 70 percent of their salaries in February and nothing as yet for March - and their families were going hungry.
- Nzima Gcobani, National Union of Mineworkers branch chairman at Pamodzi Gold Welkom, said workers’ living conditions had deteriorated because they didn't even have money to buy food -- and this might result in violence.
“It is only promises and promises from the side of management and workers are very angry,” he said.
He indicated that when the memorandum was handed over, workers 'nearly assaulted the acting general manager at the mine.
Gcobani said the workers’ fury was also fueled by the fact that Fanie van Staden, the Pamodzi Welkom general manager was on leave during “these tough times”.“Workers feel that he is running away from his responsibilities. His decision to go on leave at this time is just unfortunate.”
Workers were informed that a senior official from the company’s head office in Gauteng would address them on Saturday.
Enver Motala, chairman of SBT Trust, the court-appointed joint provisional liquidator for the Orkney mines and joint judicial manager of Pamodzi’s two other operations, said Best Rock -- the company which has promised Pamodzi Gold a R200-million loan to prop up its operations -- had until Tuesday to come up with proof that funding was available.
"Based on their strong commitment that the money will be here on Tuesday, we decided to give them more time,” said Motala.
Responding to what would happen if Best Rock did not meet the Tuesday deadline, Motala said the trust would reassess the situation and evaluate options.
- “I am currently in talks with JIC mining company to see if it can’t inject some funds into Pamodzi Gold,” said Motala. Asked about the fate of the provisionally liquidated Orkney operations, he said they were hoping to “extend the process” so that it did not go into final liquidation.
Towns of Welkom, Free State; Orkney North West, plunged into famine:
Maps or Welkom, left, and Orkney in North West province,
Solidarity unionists also confirmed that the 4,000 mineworkers of the Pamodzi Gold Mine in the Free State and their families cannot afford to buy food any longer and are growing increasingly destitute.
Since October last year, these 4,000 miners have been receiving their salaries so late or piecemeal that their families -- some 40,000 dependents -- now can no longer afford a daily meal. There is urgent need of everything: from staple foods to toiletries, and their medical aid funds have also been frozen because the company fails to pay the fees.
And the towns of Welkom, population 400,000 -- and Orkney in the Free State, which rely on the income from this now liquidated company’s various mining operations, have now been plunged into unprecedented economic hardships, with many thousands of families unable to buy food or pay their bills. Many are facing eviction from their homes now, the trade union leaders warn.
This deliberate underpayment scheme by Pamodzi has in turn plunged the enitre mining town of Welkom in the Free State into a severe economic crisis, says union spokesman Jaco Kleynhans.
- Yet this particular gold mine, the President Steyn in Welkom, is a proven long-term producer of gold bullion: Thistle Mining Co., its previous owner/investor up to February 2008 see reported a total sale of 487,069 troy ounces of gold from 2004 to 2006. see
Lord Lang of Monkford…
The following year however, Thistle Gold Mining, which is chaired by a former British cabinet member, Lord Lang of Monkford, was forced to sell the company to a black-economic empowerment company, Pamodzi Gold, under South African law. According to their website, Thistle has remained an 'investor company'.
This Welkom mine sits on top of the an historically very rich vein: the Basal Reef, which is the primary contributor of gold tons, with tabular ore-bodies less than 2m thick, i.e. they are easy to reach and thus relatively inexpensive to mine. And at the moment, gold bullion sells for $947.00 per troy ounce.
Former British cabinet member
When Thistle Gold Mining, headed by its chairman Lord Lang of Monkton, bought the lucrative South African gold mine in 2004, his Canadian-based company wasn't all that healthy: that same year, it also had to restructure its debt and equity. However it has clawed its way back into a positive financial situation. see
- According to the last financial report in the third quarter of 2007 which Thistle Mining had published before its sale to the black-economic empowerment company Pamodzi Gold, their financial situation was good, although its annual gold production did show a deeply mysterious sudden drop of gold-bullion sales during the last year of its three-year-long stewardship see
The mine still produced 165,277 troy ounces of gold in 2004; reached its highest level of 175,490 in 2005 -- but suddenly dropped to a low production of 146,302 troy ounces in 2006. The total mined in that three year period was 487,069 troy ounces of gold.
- Goldbullion prices averaged $835 - $850 per troy ounces in those three years. At the moment, gold bullion sells for $956.00 (on March 20 2009) per troy ounce and is still steadily heading towards the magic $1,000 mark. see
Judging from its steady production of gold, there should be no reason why this mine and its woners can't pay its 4,000 permanent mineworkers – the people who dig the gold out the gold and are their main source of income -- except for one major problem: as we have reported on Digital Journal before, South African gold mines are being looted massively by heavily-armed pirate gold mining gangs, paid for and armed by international Chinese crime syndicates, and the Welkom mine is also being plagued by this dangerous scourge, according to the South African police. see here
Thistle remains the investment company
In October 29 2007, Thistle Gold Mining entered into a 'Sale of Shares and Claims Agreement' under the South African government's 'black-economic-empowerment' laws, and under which Thistle's direct and indirect interests were sold to Pamodzi Gold for $14-million.
Miners are starving:
Picture left: The President Steyn goldmine in South Africa is known for its steady, reliant supply of gold: it produced 487,069 troy ounces of gold from 2004-2006, and bullion now sells for $947.00 /oz. Yet its 4,000 goldminers and their families starve because they don't get paid in time or only partially. What is going on here?
Things now are so badly run at this once so rich gold mine that Pamodzi no longer pays their fulltime mineworkers on time nor in full since October last year - plunging an entire community into poverty and hunger.
- With the international gold bullion prices at such high levels, it's a puzzle why one of South Africa's largest mining conglomerates, sitting on top of the richest gold reserves in the world, would have such financial problems that they pay their mineworkers too late and too little.
Pamodzi Gold certainly is wealthy enough to pay these workers: this black-economic empowerment company also runs Consolidated Modderfontein Mines 1979 Ltd, a 10,927-ha combined open pit and underground goldmine which are all producing actively in one of the richest gold-producing areas in the world. They also run Grootvlei Proprietary Mines Ltd in Springs at the East Rand, mining 5,357ha with three producing shafts; and the open-pit mine in Nigel at the East Rand near Johannesburg of Gold Mining Company (Pty) Ltd.
Solidarity says that Pamodzi company had held meetings in which formal agreement were reached with the trade union to pay the workers on time and in full in March, for the first time since October. However on Friday only 10% of their wages were paid -- but to only 1,000 of the 4,000 full time workers.
- The trade union's Helping Hand aid organisation says its Welkom Fund helps mine workers' families buy food and other other basic necessities of life. "A tremendous socio-economic crisis is developing in Welkom,' says Kleynhans. Workers have been waiting for two weeks now to get their entire monthly salary for February.'
The problems started from October, when workers started getting their pay too late. "And that following month, workers were told that they would have to wait for their pay again. Their January salaries were paid in two segments. However when the workers were told that they 'had to be satisfied with 20% of their pay in February, this was the last straw.
Post-dated debit orders paid their salaries:
"This led to a wild-cat strike at the mine. This forced the company into paying 40% more of the owed salaries this week - but in most cases, with post-dated debit orders at the bank."
- "This is placing these 4,000 breadwinners in an 'incredibly difficult position and is creating far-reaching socio-economic problems. For instance, because the company also paid their medical aid fund payouts too late, workers found access to medical aid frozen - and most families are suffering from severe food shortages because this has been going on since October.'
"According to our calculations, each mineworker supports eight to eleven dependents, i.e. up to 44,000 people are now suffering hunger and depravation, and this with winter rapidly approaching.'
Solidarity has issued a call for durable food products, baby products, toiletries and household cleaning products. Contact Solidarity Helping Hand at 27 (0) 861 25 24 23. Jaco Kleynhans, Solidarity Trade Union -
National Union of Mineworkers: http://www.num.org.za/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=392&Itemid=84
Solidarity trade union: Solidariteit doen beroep op bankgroepe om Pamodzi-werknemers te steun
Welkom municipallity: http://www.matjhabeng.co.za/towns.htm
Orkney municipality: http://www.matlosana.org/
200 new applications for coal- and other mines in Mpumalanga alone… yet the government claims it’s ‘against the law to deal with the applications as a group…
17/04/2009 Elise Tempelhoff, Beeld newspaper, reports from Standerton that farmers in Mpumalanga are currently mobilising themselves to prevent government ministers from approving at least 200 new applications for coal and other mines in this water-rich area, which would effectively strike a death blow to agriculture.
This in turn would seriously affect the country’s local food production, forcing the country to import even more much more expensive food.
- Water pollution - South Africa's ticking time bomb
- South Africa asked to declare state of emergency over dangerous water pollution
- Spectres of hunger, cholera start haunting S. Africa
- S.Africa faces cholera epidemic - scientist warns
By Thursday, farming organisations had been founded in five areas, namely Delmas, Ermelo, Belfast, Carolina and Standerton, in order to "do [their] utmost to prevent agriculture from disappearing from this district altogether"; to prevent the Vaal river - the economic artery of Gauteng which has its origin in Mpumalanga - from being polluted by acidic mine water; and to prevent "the end of us all".
A matter of life and death to stop these mines:
Helgaard Rautenbach, chairman of the Standerton Agricultural Forum, told farmers on Thursday that this is a matter of life and death, and that unprecedented pressure should now be placed on the government to turn down the new coal mines especially.
On Wednesday afternoon, Dr Koos Pretorius of the Federation for a Sustainable Environment and Terence McCarthy, a professor of geology, begged Eskom head Jacob Maroga to help them pressurise the government to turn down the new mine applications.
European union warns of SA’s polluted crops:
Pretorius, who has a farm in Belfast, said on Thursday that the water in the Witbank and Middelburg dams is already so polluted that it is useless for irrigation purposes. The Loskop Dam, the irrigation dam of the Groblersdal valley where many products for export are produced, is "teetering on the edge".
James Harris, DA councillor for Secunda, said he knows of several farmers in Mpumalanga who have already been warned by the European Union (Euro Gap) that their irrigation water is of an unacceptable quality.
It has an especially negative impact on lucerne, peanuts, grapes and citrus products. "Agricultural production has already fallen by 60% in this area," Harris said. "These are the products we buy from supermarkets. It affects our health."
More coal mines in Mpumalanga will render the Vaal Dam and Vaal River useless. Harris has said the biggest problem with the coal rush in Mpumalanga, is that it would take place in the catchment area of the Usuthu, Komati, Vaal and Olifants rivers. These would be primarily opencast mines.
Jan Boshoff, a farmer from Delmas and member of the governing body of the newly launched Olifants River Catchment Area Conservation Group, has said that "massive amounts of salts" from the Vaal River end up on agricultural land at the Vaalharts Scheme.
Acidic mine water
Harris said that large areas around Witbank are already so polluted due to acidic mine water that agricultural activities can't continue there. The soil becomes brackish because the salts build up in the water due to mining activities, which makes the agricultural soil sterile.
- According to Harris, all the coal dust from the highveld settles in the Loskop Dam, which is already so seriously polluted by heavy metals and chemicals (from insecticides and pesticides) that "everything in there has probably died already". Dead fish were analysed and it was found that they were riddled with cancer.
"It's a tragic situation. Who's going to die next?" he asked. Harris said it wouldn't help to try to clean the dam. Pollution must be tackled at the root cause, where industries and mines dump "garbage" in rivers at the taxpayer's expense, he said.
Pam Yako, director general of the Department of Water Affairs and Forestry, recently said that the ‘ Blue Scorpions ‘would ‘soon tackle unlicensed mines.’ (Whatever that means: could someone enlighten me please? email me at firstname.lastname@example.org).
- There are about 22 mines in Mpumalanga which mine coal without a water licence. Pretorius appealed to the Department of Minerals and Energy to "see the bigger picture" and not approve each mine individually.
‘Against the law to deal with all mines as a group?’
Bheki Khumalo, spokesman for the Department of Minerals and Energy, said it ‘would be against the law to deal with the mines as a group.: each mine must be approved individually, based on its own merits." - Beeld http://www.news24.com/News24/South_Africa/News/0,,2-7-1442_2502696,00.html
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By Adriana Stuijt copyright requests address: email@example.com
FRIESLAND, The Netherlands. Dokkum hairdresser Danguet Lumleot does not fear the recession: she's set up her multi-tasking “NetSalon” beauty shop inside this classic Dokkum building, right opposite the tourism board, the local newspaper, the busy DVD shop in the central shopping district -- and right at the only entrance to the town square, where all the weekly the markets are held. Picture: Adriana Stuijt
April 2009 -- Right in the middle of a recession, Dutch hairdresser Danguet Lumleot still decided to set up her new salon in downtown Dokkum, in Friesland. Thailand-born “Net”- as she's called by friends and family -- hasn't left anything to chance though. She found the perfect venue so that her salon is very, very easy to find.
Location, location, location…
She has also set up a sharp, useful website where potential customers can ask free advice by simply sending her their pictures - which is a terrific way to draw in new customers. And she's set up shop in a very busy street, across from the newspaper office, the tourism office, Dokkum's hugely popular DVD-outlet, and at the entrance to the town square. Everybody who shops in downtown Dokkum basically always has to walk or bike past her NetSalon to get to the narrow streets of historic Dokkum's central shopping district.
Permanent Make-up… nails:
Before she arrived on the scene, Dokkum did not have an unisex hair/nail/make up salon at all. And she’s even more versatile, offering cosmetic tattooing, also referred to as 'permanent makeup'.
She's simply a natural beautician: combining a warm personality, a great smile, and superb skills with those scissors and an impressive list of qualifications. And here’s the good news: she’s affordable.
All these assets should help make her shop a success, even in a recession... She was lucky in finding a vacant shop at such a good venue when she decided to open her business in December, she said, but the boutique which was in it before, decided to move to a larger shop nearby.
Net –Salon only opened on December 6 - but word is getting around fast that Net's advice counts for something: while I was getting my haircut recently, a rather upset teen dropped in asking for urgent advice: she'd had acrylic nails applied by a fly-by-night acrylic nail-designer she’d discovered on the internet, and now her fingertips were infected because of a horrid-looking, botched up job. The nails had acrylic glue all over them and she complained about the way her fingertips were swelling up and hurting so much. The teen was advised to immediate go to her local GP to stop the infection from spreading and get the goopily-pasted nails removed.
Picture by Adriana Stuijt: Dokkum shopping centre. To set up her own business, Danguet Lumleot has had to spend the past five years requalifying after she arrived in the Netherlands from Thailand to marry her Dutch boyfriend and start a family. She'd already had years of experience in running her own salon, yet now she had to qualify again and get Dutch diplomas in hair-dressing, skin-care, make-up, dreadlocks, hair extentions, nail-design, cosmetic tattooing - and all that while of course also studying the Dutch language through the local Friesland College and raise their two children...
There's clearly no stopping this determined business woman: she single-handedly also climbed that inevitable mountain of bureaucracy everybody has to scale in The Netherlands before one can set up any business - including having to obtaining a permit from the health department to apply cosmetic permanent makeup tattoos.
And she did all this while also adjusting to an entirely different culture, running a household and raising her two boys. Somehow, I feel that if Net can't make a jolly good go of her NetSalon - nobody will be able to.
She doesn't even think about failure: she's already talking about hiring an assistant. see
By Adriana Stuijt. http://www.digitaljournal.com/article/269237
Pale veal is 'manufactured' by keeping the young animals penned up and fed on a low-iron milk diet for six months. A peaceful but very determined Dutch animal rights campaign has managed to get this veal out of most supermarkets now. YouTube: www.youtube.com/watch?v=nDYXDGo1Omk
April 2009 – DOKKUM, Friesland. Within six months of an animal-welfare group’s launching a peaceful, company-targetted campaign against 'pale veal' - produced by keeping male calves penned up, fed on low-iron milk diets -- nearly all the Dutch supermarkets have stopped selling it.
Animal-rights group Wakker Dier in The Netherlands -- which country is also Europe's largest veal-producers with 1,5million veal calves a year -- says they launched the campaign urging consumers not to buy this veal 'because pale veal is raised by keeping the calves deliberately ill, fed on a low-iron milk diet and kept stabled in small cages. They never see the light of day'...
Dutch supermarkets Jumbo, Plus, Aldi, Lidl, Boon, Coop, Dekamarkt, Hoogvliet, Nettorama, Poiesz, Sanders, Emté, Spar en Vomar have all undertaken to stop selling the pale veal within the next few months - also because the Wakker Dier publicity campaign created a high level of consumer awareness, and people stopped buying it.
Supermarket chain managers who were convinced almost immediately after viewing the publicity material from Wakker Dier, Dirk, C1000, Super de Boer, AH, Bas, Digros and Deen, stopped selling the pale veal within weeks from the start of the campaign in September 2008.
"We are happy that with this campaign, nearly all the anaemic veal has now disappeared from our supermarkets,' said a spokesman for Wakker Dier.
Naming and shaming:
However, they're still naming and shaming the ones who haven't yet complied -- noting that two supermarkets, Jan Linders and Boni, are still stocking the veal - and it's also still being sold to the hospitality industry and in small butcheries who buy their veal from just two large veal producers.
- How did this 'pale veal' craze start exactly? There are no health benefits from pale veal at all - it's merely a culinary fashion, traced back to Europe's top chefs who, some ten years ago, started demanding pale veal instead of the usual pink meat.
Wakker Dier 's campaigns are gaining widespread support in Europe because they are totally non-violent: they simply bombard consumers and companies with hard facts, statistics, and very striking photographs and YouTube videos showing the extreme happiness with which Dutch cows, for instance, greet the annual opening up of their winter-stable doors each spring, and the carousing in the green fields which takes place that one day. (see the video above of this annual happy event).
This is the way healthy veal calves should be raised, ways Wakker Dier - and many Dutch consumers agree with their contention that young steer-calves should be allowed to stay with their mothers in the green fields until they are strong and tall, instead of being penned indoors during their brief lifetimes; taken away from their mothers when only a week old; and then kept deliberately anaemic on a low-iron milk diet...
Wakker Dier has already booked considerable success in their other company-targetted fact campaigns for the rights of millions of other farm animals, too. And since the Dutch are the largest producers of agricultural products in Europe, their campaign usually has a very powerful effect on animal-rights throughout Europe at the same time.
In 2004 all the supermarkets also stopped selling eggs from battery hen-factories; and in 2008 they managed to end the castration procedures without anaesthesia of an annual 7-million Dutch pigs in the country's many piggeries.
Their gruesome films showing the inhumane force-feeding of geese and ducks just to obtain foie gras pate, and the campaign to keep the Dutch cows in grass fields for nine months of the year -- instead of in stables throughout the year -- have also had a powerful effect in The Netherlands.
Wakker Dier says that the 'anaemic' or paler-tinted veal comes from calves with an Hb (blood-iron) content of around five - as compared to healthy animals with a 7 to 10 count.
Anaemic animals are sick animals:
"European scientists established that any animal with a blood-content of less than 6 Hb was suffering extreme anaemia 'comparable to levels associated with poor welfare because normal activity is difficult or not possible and other functions are impaired’.
- The veal calves' all-liquid diet which is deficient in iron and fiber is a major cause of poor welfare in itself. The European Union's Scientific Veterinary Committee's 1995 Report on the Welfare of Calves cited much scientific literature and concluded that a diet deficient in roughage and iron can lead to serious maladies for the calves and cause abnormal gut development (Stevenson, 1999)." From this fully referenced report:
The Dutch Advertising Code Commission also confirmed late last year after a court challenge by Wakker Dier that the pale-veal industry's advertising campaign was false because these animals were not healthy. "The Hb content of such calves is so low that the animals can be classified as ill,' the council ruled, ordering the industry to stop the advertising campaign. Within a month of this ruling, Dutch supermarkets Dirk, C1000, Super de Boer and Deen stopped selling it.
In January, the internationally-known Albert Heijn Holdings Supermarkets also issued a joint statement with the largest veal-producer in the world, the Van Drie company in the Netherlands, that they would actively start campaigning against the practice of raising anaemic veal throughout Europe.
- However - Wakker Dier's peaceful campaigners aren't quite done with the veal-producers as yet.
They explain that the suffering of veal-calves is still being perpetuated by the industry. In order to continue producing milk, a cow must have one calf a year. Their male calves thus are merely the 'waste-products" of this process: taken away from their moms within a week, they spend the only six months of their lives penned up in a cage, and fed on a low-iron milk mix, destined to become 'anaemic veal' and never seeing the light of day.
600,000 of the more than 1,5-million calves raised for veal in The Netherlands are also imported from dairy farms in Poland and Lithuania when they are only a week old - and Wakker Dier also wants these animal transports of live small calves stopped.
Wakker Dier says these animals are "always sick and listless, never get to run around in green fields, never drink from their mothers for longer than a week, always live in bleak stables and spend a very miserable, all too brief life."
Until this campaign was launched six months ago, an annual 1,5million Dutch veal-calves were kept deliberately anaemic by feeding them low-iron artificial 'milk'. Now, the world's top veal producer has stopped the practice - and it is hoped, others will follow soon, forced by market forces because producers stopped buying pale veal.
Only two companies in The Netherlands used to produce veal this way; and their products are exported throughout Europe. Van Drie of Apeldoorn, the market-leader in this field, and Alpuro. One-fifth of all the veal products sold in Europe come from Van Drie - and now this company has stopped producing anaemic calves. The other company will be forced to switch to pink veal as the consumer demand for pink veal now grows dramatically.
I often hear Dutch shoppers asking specifically for 'pink veal, not that horrid white stuff,' so the campaign is also hitting every household.
Peter's Farm - a better way to raise veal
Wakker Dier still isn't happy with the way 'pink veal' is produced either, however: the animals are still kept indoors, they point out, and are still taken away from their mothers within a week of birth.
They point out that some 'pink' veal which presents itself as 'animal-friendly '' is produced under the Peter's Farm label -- however, claims Wakker Dier, 'these calves still suffer the same fate, except that they aren't anaemic any longer.' http://www.wakkerdier.nl/persbericht/465/Vrijwel_alle_supermarkten_stoppen_met_verkoop_blank_kalfsvlees/
This claim is vehemently denied by Peter`s Farm, whose spokesman says that their 'calves live in herds, have the freedom to choose for themselves when and how much they wish to eat and whether they wish to walk, stand, lie down, play or sleep.'
- They say that the world-famous Agricultural University of Wageningen in The Netherlands carried out a study of the natural behaviour of calves on a Peter`s Farm: "The conclusion of this research is that the calves on a Peter`s Farm are held under much friendlier welfare conditions than calves in other systems."
They also point to a report by the Dutch Royal Society for the Protection of Animals, which said it was 'positive about the Peter's Farm development and looked forward to the further development of the system."
By Adriana Stuijt. http://www.digitaljournal.com/article/269360
Picture by Eric Harrison, who is Zimbabwe's own Johnny Appleseed. The dispossessed farmer turned his own kitchen-garden into an instant produce market, and teaching hundreds of neighbours and members of social clubs how to keep themselves from starving during the current crisis in the ill-fated African country. He also introduces them to the most powerful and totally free fertiliser-manufacturer in the world: the earth worm…
Homeowners across the United States and Europe are clearly planning to raise more vegetables this spring: large seed companies on both continents report sudden booms in sales of vegetable seeds to millions of homeowners.
Seed companies here in The Netherlands, which is the largest single producer of vegetable seeds in Europe, report growing sales to their European retailers at the moment.
And this can be seen at first hand in my town of Dokkum, in Friesland where people are pulling out parts of their ornamental beds and preparing to plant more vegetables in this spring. The ground now still is too cold for seeds: but our local home-gardeners are already hard at work all over town, raising seedlings in their much-treasured little garden sheds.
The annual Horticulture Fair in Rotterdam -- which brings Horticulturists and their European retail-consumers together at the massive Ahoy Fairgroundsin the Dutch harbour city, has drawn more interest from European buyers, reported their organisers.
"The interest from homeowners is fuelling the increase in sales for vegetable seeds,' said Aad van Dijk, speaking from his company's stand at the Ahoy Hall. "There's a lot of enquiries for instant mini-gardens in which to raise vegetables on balconies and inside living rooms, too,' he added. The wholesalers say their stands are crowded and interest in purchasing is definitely higher than it was last year. see
From seed producers and greenhouse growers to retailers, most report booming sales in the United States and Europe. And the seed producers say this is mostly due to 'family financial issues. '
A Texas newspaper reports from Fort Worth that this happens every time there is a downturn in the US economy, quoting Rick Archie, third-generation owner of Archie’s Gardenland on the west side of Fort Worth, founded in the middle of the Great Depression - 1934. His vegetable plant sales have increased 20 to 25 percent so far this year.
At Russell Feed in Haltom City, Texas, manager Carl Cathey also reports that his vegetable plant sales have soared 50 to 60 percent this year.
People just hungry to grow vegetables:
"Of course, a lot of it are replacements for people who got frosted out and came back for more," Cathey conceded. "But all in all, people seem just hungry to grow vegetables. Seeds are just now starting to move, but they’re up about 20 percent in the last couple of weeks."
Victory Garden seeds
Park Seeds of South Carolina rushed out multi-seed packets called Victory Garden, lifting the name from successful federal programs during World Wars I and II that boosted home garden production in the United States and also in the besieged United Kingdom, whose citizens all had to become good self-sufficient in a hurry when the Nazis started attacking the US convoys to their country.
In the United States, W. Atlee Burpee Co., the Pennsylvania-based pioneer in the international mail-order seed business, which also supplies major chains, matched Park Seeds with Money Garden. Its priced at $9.95 for a packet that will grow six vegetables. If weather doesn’t get in the way, Burpee estimates that $50 in seeds and fertilizer can produce $1,250 worth of groceries purchased at a supermarket.
About 10 years ago, Burpee already began tossing around ideas of how to get the word out that vegetable gardening is a great way to save money. From 1998 through 2008, Burpee conducted a cost analysis study of the home vegetable garden. Burpee President George Ball, Jr. likened the renewed interest in vegetable gardening to a kind of “new age victory garden”.
- Where the original victory gardens were intended to reduce demand on the public food supply, today’s vegetable garden is meant to reduce our dependance on it. Also see victory gardens in Zimbabwe, here
Vegetable seed sales exploding across the board
“It started with the spike in oil prices, then the mortgage and credit crisis, plus the food scares (e coli and salmonella). Most people garden for taste. But there’s a strong argument to be made that growing your own vegetables is also a cost saving proposition. A family of four can save a lot of money growing their own vegetables.” And sales of vegetable seeds generally at Burpee "are exploding across the board," Ball said.
During the last week of February, orders were up about 25 percent over the same period in 2008, far more than the seed producer expected. "Last year, we saw increases of 15 to 20 percent because of the [salmonella] food scare over tomatoes and peppers," he said. "And we thought we’d see a back-off, not an uptick.
- "We never anticipated the mortgage crisis and the effect on people’s 401(k) retirement accounts. And we haven’t seen produce prices back down when fuel prices dropped last fall," Ball said, rattling off reasons why more folks might be planting vegetables. http://www.digitaljournal.com/article/269360
How do refugees survive these tough times? With guts and loads of talent…
By Adriana Stuijt. http://www.digitaljournal.com/article/269184
April 2009 - Hesam Kakay, a Kurdish refugee-artist in Dokkum, is carving out a nice little niche for himself in the Dutch art world despite the economic crisis. Picture: Adriana Stuijt firstname.lastname@example.org
With the economic crisis hitting rich and poor citizens so hard worldwide right now - how do the world's many millions of stateless refugees survive?
The UN says there are 9 million refugees, and begs for more funds because donors have stopped giving...
Moreover, there's also another 25-million 'internally displaced persons' inside their own countries which need looking after.
In fact, the United Nations is constantly pounding the news media with dire reports warning of widespread famine and disease in these refugee camps. Their latest news report yesterday says that more than one-third of these refugees are no longer fed each day, let alone survive. And with famine growing worldwide, even more refugees will be created - people who will start drifting to other countries as a last-ditch survival strategy.see and see
What happens to all those refugees?
Many of these refugees end up living in camps, surviving only on daily handouts from UN-donor countries. Many are genuinely fleeing persecution, armed conflict, murder, rape, and mutilation. But what happens to those refugees who survived all this hardship, but who can't go back to their own countries? Do they just die in these camps, as the United Nations' publicity-machine so often seems to imply?
Picture: Here in Dokkum, (total population 27,000), we also have about 12,000 asylum-seekers housed in the local, well-utilised asylum-seekers' centre - many are Kurds from conflict regions such Iran, Iraq, Syria, Turkey, and used to be known as Kurdistan.
These refugees have their own school here and are also free to move around where-ever they wish - they aren't locked up as they are in so many other countries. And if they obtain legal asylum-seekers' status, they can work here, too.
Kurds get a raw deal
Now, if there's one nation which has for centuries, been getting a really raw deal, it must be the Kurds. This Indo-European nation can trace its history back to the Medes, 700 years before Christ. There's now some 20-million scattered all over the middle-east, yet the Kurds used to have an autonomous homeland.
They now are facing chronic suppression in many countries such as Iraq, Iran, Turkey and Syria. Increasingly, their young people - denied equal opportunities in their host nations -- are also scattering into a new Kurdish diaspora all over the world. Some of these long-time refugees have even settled here in Dokkum, in the northern European climate of Friesland.
- But how exactly do these refugees survive the rapidly-toughening economic times?
I asked local Kurdish refugee Hesam Kakay, whom I first met ten years ago here in Dokkum when he was a newly-arrived, penniless traveller, hoping to find a safer haven than the one provided under the now dead Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein. He couldn't speak a word of Dutch then. Now he's fluent, and has his own flat in nearby Leeuwarden.
Entire Kakay clan are artists…
Ánd through sheer grit, a huge amount of patience and a very creative talent, this quiet, gentle man is beginning to carve out a niche for himself in the Dutch art world - although he's got a nursing diploma too, 'just in case'.
The entire Kakay clan is artistic, he says proudly. As do so many traditional north-Africans and Middle-Easterners, Hesam too would be able to list all the names of his ancestral clans. He keeps it short and easy for me though: he's is one of seven sons of the Amin Hama Kakay clan, he says. They are the direct descendants from an ancient Kurdish line of artists, sculptors and painters - and nowadays, also photographers.
- And while he's a highly skilled photographer, see he much prefers to paint with acrylic, he says.
- Also, he really never stops drawing.
While we sat chatting in our mutual friend Gonnie Ezerman's art gallery in Dokkum, he scribbled away at these wonderful little abstract designs on scraps of paper - designs which often also show up in many of the acrylic paintings around him and painted paper sculptures displayed all over the gallery.
Democracy is pretty chaotic...
Kakay, now 40, left his home town of Kirkuk in Iraq ten years ago -- at a time when the Kurds were greatly persecuted and suppressed by the late dictator Saddam Hussein. "Now there was a mean man...' he says.
- His mother died when he was very young: "People still don't get old in Kirkuk, it's the deprivation and poverty.' And right now, things are pretty chaotic: "Suddenly democracy is coming at us from all sides and everybody is allowed to say everything they never were allowed to under Saddam. It will need time to settle down,' he says.
Ever since the death of their father a while back, the family has scattered all over the Kurdish diaspora worldwide: two brothers are in the United States, another one in Germany... He started painting the minute he arrived in Dokkum in 1999 and was granted asylum status after a long wait. "I paint. It's what I do to express my feelings the best about the beloved homeland I have left behind,' he says.
The Kakay clan can trace their ancestry back many centuries, when Kakay ancestors were already carving statues in their mountainous homeland region, which has now been so utterly destroyed by countless wars. "We Kakays express our deepest pain and sadness through our art,' he says. Like his older brothers, Hesam also is greatly inspired by ancient civilization and religious myths, fables and popular art alike.
He just completed his 25th exhibit within ten years in Europe see - and despite the economic times, these went better than he had expected: "I even sold a few pieces,' the soft-spoken artist said with a shy smile. It's not easy though:
- "It's a fact though that in difficult financial times, the first thing people stop buying is art. My brother Noraldeen in Germany also had an art exhibit at around the same time as mine, and he didn't sell a thing,' he said.
Wants to go back - but only to an independent Kurdistan
So how does he see his future now, with economic times clearly growing so much tougher, I asked.
He shrugs: "One thing's for sure.''I won't be going back to Iraq unless we Kurds can get our own autonomic homeland. Then we have something to go back to. I want to be a Kurd, we all want to speak our own language, which is still being suppressed widely. We want our own parliament, and rebuild our own country, the one we used to have before we were scattered so widely."
I'm an European now...
Since every government in the world seems to be so firmly opposed to letting them have their independent Kurdistan back again - what will he be doing in the meantime? I asked.
- "Stop being a refugee and just get on with my life. I'm an European now,' he said.
Refugees aren't helpless:
And that's the good news which the United Nations never tells the world: namely that refugees aren't all helpless and just sitting in tents waiting for food-handouts; on the contrary, the vast majority do adapt and adjust to the new societies around them, and usually they can integrate with time and become part of the rich social fabric of our global community.
Just like Hesam and his talented brothers have already been doing over the past ten years and many millions of refugees worldwide are also doing right now.
As soon as they can get out of the UN's bleak tent cities, that is…http://www.digitaljournal.com/article/269184
By Adriana Stuijt. http://www.digitaljournal.com/article/270991
The city of Dokkum in Friesland was turned in a wintry movie set with a floating iceskating rink for the shooting of the movie The Hell of 63, about the infamous 1963 Eleven Cities iceskating marathon in Friesland. But this picture is an illusion: it was a bright spring day, and people were sippng beers on the terraces, sunning themselves. (Picture copyright: Adriana Stuijt, email@example.com)
April 14 was a warm spring day here in Friesland - yet the temperature in Dokkum ‘suddenly dropped to minus 20C'. A thick layer of 'ice and snow' covered the city centre. People were ice-skating on the canal at breakneck speeds, packed in thick winter clothes, and cheered on by an enthusiastic crowd lining the canal.
Yet it was all just a mirage: these were all movie actors, making a Dutch film called The Hell of 1963 about the most legendary and bizarre Eleven-Cities iceskating marathon of the previous century. The last day's shooting for the film, which premieres in September, was here in Dokkum on April 14.
The workmen and set-designers were hard at work all week: a huge floating ice-rink was placed in the canal in front of the City Hall, and thick layers of paper snow were packed and blasted all along the canal walls and against the fronts of the town houses in this ancient sea-trading city.
See YouTube video link: www.youtube.com/v/fYBFEfZHkNM
t was really eerie to be in Dokkum this weekend: hundreds of people were crowded on the terraces sipping beer in the warm sun while watching this crowd of actors, shoveling snow or cheering the iceskaters down below, many wearing their old Fresian wooden skates. The scenes had to be shot over and over again, yet none of the onlookers went home until the very last scene was completed, and a director shouted in real Hollywood-fashion: "it's a wrap...'
The Hell of '63 now is almost in the can I was told at the set: the last filming days were held here in Dokkum. The entire city centre was turned into a movie set throughout the previous week: and on Monday, I still spotted a crew taking some last-minute close-ups of the city houses. Early on Monday-morning, a clean-up crew of cheerful young men was hard at work in the warm sun, clearing away shovel-loads of paper snow and power-blasting all this sticky white stuff off the city hall steps and the 13th century frontage of the local Limburg pie shop. When you pick up a handful, it feels just like snow and is just as sticky, yet it's warm to the touch.
One of the very few brave men who actually managed to complete the grueling marathon in 1963 was Jaap Nienhuis - and he was also still on hand, as one of the main actors, being treated like a real movie star by the admiring onlookers, being loudly cheered everywhere he went. The Hell of '63 will have its premiere in November, and is being eagerly awaited by the entire population of Friesland. Your image
It's an integral part of Friesland’s history. And it's an amazing story: that year, the ice on most rivers and lakes was 50 to 60cm thick. On 20 February, a car rally was held across the salty IJsselmeer, the former Zuyder Zee which was frozen nearly solid. The northern-most provinces of The Netherlands didn't thaw out for some 40 days and nights.
The gruelling 124-mile Eleven Cities iceskating marathon takes place in Friesland whenever the temperatures drop long enough for the lakes and canals to freeze solid. The last time this happened was in 1997, and I watched 16,000 of these skilled amateur ice-skaters braving these arctic conditions in a grueling sports event which started 100 years ago with only about 20 participants. There are no prizes for the winners except a medal and a mention in the newspapers, there is no advertising, it's an entirely amateur event, created and supported by a huge network of volunteers in Friesland province's eleven cities.
Pic copyright: Adriana Stuijt An artificial ice skating rink was created on these large floats in the canal fronting the Dokkum city hall in Friesland for a day of filming the movie Hell of 63 about the fabled Eleven Cities ice skating marathon in Friesland province.
Known as the 'Elfstedentocht' in Dutch, the one-day tour is an obsession for every one of its 16,000 registered amateurs of all ages from local ice-skating clubs. The event celebrated its 100th anniversary last year. Dokkum is at the half-way turnaround point of the marathon. When these skaters arrive here, they are already very exhausted and in dire need of a break. This ice-skating marathon can be described as a combination of the New York City Marathon and the Alaskan Iditarod on skates, but without the dogs.
It's also a very nationalistic event here in Friesland, although nobody would admit to that publicly. It's a fact though that the Fresian National Anthem is heard an awful lot more during the Eleven Cities than at any other sports event here. It connects all the towns in Friesland along the route into one huge interlinked network of people, united in only one purpose: to help the participants along to the finish: members of women's clubs, church clubs, sports clubs, all just as busy as bees, keeping the participants warm with hot soup and chocolate and plenty of rolls and donuts - called oliebollen here. And tens of thousands of people arrive in all the cities from all the provinces of The Netherlands despite the icy cold, to cheer these skaters along. And this goes on well into the night until the very last person has made it across the finish line.
Friesland is a unique province in that it has its own language and such uniquely Frisian cultural events. The Netherlands has two official languages: Dutch and Frisian. And while there's always a winner of course - one year two men skated triumphantly across the finish line, hand in hand -- the main thing is not to win but to help each other complete this difficult marathon.
It is only held in Friesland whenever the ice freezes over very solidly along the entire 124-miles of lakes and canals that make up the route. The last one took place on January 4, 1997. This fabled marathon, started officially 100 years ago, was however undertaken unofficially for centuries before that.
Pic Copyright: Adriana Stuijt -
The city centre of Dokkum was turned into a wintry movie-set, with a floating icerink and tons of fake snow and ice, for the shooting of the film The Hell of 1963, about that year's fabled Eleven Cities iceskating marathon in Friesland. These are the floats of the rink, being cleared away.
And over the past 100 years, it has only been held fifteen times. Yet, it's become the biggest phenomenon in Dutch sports, and the stuff of legends: People still speak in awe here of the 1929 event, when winner Karst Leemburg finished in conditions so severe that a frostbitten toe had to be amputated.
Of course ice-skating has been a popular past-time in Europe for at least 1,000 years. And our forebears had just as much fun with it as they do today: they used to tie sharpened, long bones beneath their feet to glide on. These first bone-skates were called 'glissers'. And these ice-skaters, apparently very rowdy individuals, even made it into some of the earliest European histories: described by Thomas Becket's biographer William Fitzstephen in London in 1174 in some very critical paragraphs about their foul behaviour. see my previous story about Elfstedentocht here
Ina Halfter, German teacher, Pretoria, bludgeoned to death
Pretoria News journalists Jacques Breytenbach and Graeme Hosken report on the front page on April 17 that German-born Pretoria Grade 2 teacher Ina Halfter, 28, was found bludgeoned to death in her blood-spattered flat hours after she failed to arrive at school.
Halfter, 28, a German national who had been teaching at the private Deutsche Schüle since January 2008, was found by police and paramedics in her Equestria flat on Thursday morning.
Pretoria News writes that 'it is believed that Halfter's colleagues raised the alarm when phone calls from the school to her flat went unanswered.' Paramedics and police were alerted after several of her colleagues saw her lying in a pool of blood in her lounge.
Unable to enter her home in Simonsberg Flats, where she had been living for six months, police and paramedics had to break a lounge window. The front door and windows were locked. Halfter was found with a rope around her neck and a rubber mallet next to her body. It is believed she was strangled and bludgeoned to death.
There were few signs of a struggle. "Her laptop was still plugged in and her cellphone was ringing in her room when we found her."
A police officer said a table had been pushed aside. "There was no broken glasses or anything that would show that she had been attacked by a stranger," he said, asking not to be named.Another police source said the lounge was covered in blood. "This is a truly horrific scene. There was blood everywhere. She did not stand a chance - not with the amount of force she was hit with," said the source, referring to the hammer found next to Halfter.
- Hours later, detectives from Lyttelton police station arrested Halfter's ex-boyfriend on the N1 highway near Parys in the Free State. Lyttelton detectives were looking for another suspect in the Free State town when local detectives brought the 43-year-old man to them. The man described by police as highly traumatised, is a German national who is believed to be employed in the school's maintenance department. Parys police became suspicious when they spotted him sitting in his car in a field, "about to commit suicide", when police found him.
Lyttelton police station commissioner Director Andre Wiese on Thursday night confirmed that the man was being held in the cells at his station. ." Dr Martin Schafer of the German Embassy -- and whose son was taught by Halfter -- said the school was deeply distressed by what had happened. Asked if the suspect was the caretaker at the school, Schafer would neither deny nor confirm it. He said: "Teaching at the school was the teacher's first assignment after she graduated from her studies in Germany."She was appreciated by her class because she was such a friendly and engaging person. It will be very difficult to replace her," he said. Schafer added that at this stage they would not be calling on the German authorities to investigate the murder, as "we are confident that the perpetrator of this gruesome crime will be brought to justice"."We appreciate the excellent and effective co-operation with the South African authorities, and in particular the SAPS."They have communicated to us that they regard this as a priority. But there might be a possibility that German authorities will get involved," he said. This article was originally published on page 1 of The Pretoria News on April 17, 2009 http://www.pretorianews.co.za/?fSectionId=&fArticleId=vn20090417052059144C484204
FOUR DEATHS IN SHOPRITE SUPERMARKET ROBBERY, MONTCLAIR, KZN
Picture: Crime warning sign at a Pretoria railway station, photographed by journalist Chris Czebo.
April 17 2009 -- Natal Mercury journalist Kamini Padayachee reports
three robbers were shot dead by police after they had killed store manager Kris Pillay and took staff and customers hostage at the Shoprite supermarket in Montclair, Durban, on Thursday. A man also suffered a heart attack during the ordeal.
Advertising boss Richard Cassels killed
This comes just a day after advertising boss Richard Cassels, of TBWA/Hunt/Lascaris, was killed in a robbery at his Westville home.Police are still searching for advertising executive Cassels's 6 killers. Captain Thulani Zwane said Cassels had been in his home with his 20-year-old son when six men entered the house. The men, armed with knives and guns, held the pair at gunpoint and took items including a television, pistol and a cellphone. The robbers then stabbed Cassels before fleeing. Cassels's friend Garth Cameron, speaking for the family, said his children were in shock.
- "His son Justin, who was with him last night, has been sent for counselling. His daughter Hayley is on her way to Durban from Cape Town. Richard was a helpful, friendly and outgoing person. He took in his domestic worker's son, Eric, and mentored him from a young age and saw him as an adopted son."
In Thursday's incident, men carrying pistols entered the store at around 2.10pm."The men walked into the store and held the staff and customers at gunpoint while taking money from the tills," said police Superintendent Vincent Mdunge.
Store Manager Kris Pillay, 55, of Chatsworth killed:
"While robbing the store, the men shot the store manager. The police's Special Task Force, including their hostage negotiators, the National Intervention Unit, Organised Crime Unit and other units were alerted to the robbery and rushed to the scene. One officer managed to get into the store. The robbers realised the police had arrived, and took the staff and customers hostage."
Three robbers killed:
Mdunge said police entered the store, and had come under fire. "The police returned fire, killing three men. Three firearms and a portion of the stolen money were recovered. It is believed that these men had been involved in other armed robberies." Mdunge added that a getaway vehicle was found near the scene.
He said officers then searched the store to ensure that no other robbers were hiding there. Other gunmen are being sought. Netcare 911 spokesperson Chris Botha said the store manager, Krish Pillay, 55, of Chatsworth, had been found lying outside the store's entrance. "The man had sustained three gunshot wounds to the chest. Paramedics tried to resuscitate him, but he died at the scene. One woman, who was pistol-whipped, collapsed and was taken to hospital. Another woman had a heart attack, and was taken to Woodlands hospital."We then counselled about 30 people who had been in the store at the time of the robbery," Botha said.
ER24 emergency services’ spokesman Derrick Banks said a man had also suffered a heart attack, and was taken to hospital. Pillay's distraught family, who gathered outside the store on Thursday, broke down in tears when they saw his body. His friends said he had been a friendly person and always willing to help others. Pillay had been caring for his sister's two teenage sons after she died recently.
About 50 staffers had heard the commotion when the robbers got into the store, and some ran to the second floor and locked themselves into a storeroom.
Fifth time store was robbed:
- "We thought they were going to shoot us. The robbers knew we were in the storeroom, and told us not to use our cellphones to call the police, and to stay where we were. We then heard gunshots, and we saw the police. This is the fifth time that we have been robbed," the staff member said. http://www.iol.co.za/index.php?set_id=1&click_id=15&art_id=vn20090417051304161C799282