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- A Stuijt
- Retired South African medical journalist, ex-Sunday Times of Johannesburg.
Is curing an HIV-infected cell in a laboratory the first step to the hoped-for AIDS-cure?
Deutsche Welle, the German news agency, reports that there still is no cure for HIV-AIDs, only drugs that impede its progress and prolong the lives of those who have become infected.
However, they report that researchers at the Max-Planck Institute for Cell Biology and Genetics in Dresden say they have healed an HIV-infected cell in the laboratory. However a cure is still a long way off: at least four years of research are needed, the scientists say.
Since 1981, global health authorities estimate that AIDs has killed some 25-million people world-wide. Germany gets about 3,000 new HIV-infections each year. There are some 20 drugs on the market which can prolong death from the AIDS-virus, but there is no cure. Until then, prevention still remains the best protection against HIV, reports the German TV report:
German TV video report:
Health experts warn of resistant TB-AIDS time-bomb
By DAGI KIMANI, journalist, Kenya (email the author)
Monday, July 20 2009 -- Kenyan health experts have warned that the country is sitting on a tuberculosis time-bomb, and are suggesting that the disease be declared a national emergency like HIV/Aids. Of most concern, the experts say, is the continued unchecked spread of multi-drug resistant TB (MDR-TB), which is harder and more expensive to treat than conventional tuberculosis. Kenya gets 140,000 new TB cases a year – one of the highest infection rates in the world after South Africa, where XDR-TB death rates are soaring. WHO advice on management of XDR-TB in SA:
Since the 2005 Maputo Declaration in which African health ministers declared TB as a continental emergency, only two countries in the SADC region - Malawi and Namibia - have declared TB a national emergency. Once TB is declared an emergency it would mean an increase in human resources, strengthening and decentralization of TB services, active finding and vigorous sensitisation of communities on the disease.
Co-infection with HIV-AIDS makes TB even deadlier
Last week, the director of Kenyatta National Hospital revealed that the institution had diagnosed 330 cases of MDR-TB over the past year, the largest ever caseload. A year earlier, there were 250 cases in this one hospital alone. Kenya has about 1.3 million people infected with HIV-AIDS. About 52 percent of the country’s new TB patients also are HIV-positive.
- According to Dr Jotham Micheni, multiple-drug-resistant Tuberculosis, which costs up to $20,000 to treat, is “probably one of the gravest new public health challenges” to emerge this decade for poor countries like Kenya, already struggling to cope with ‘normal’ TB.
People are panicking about swine-flu … but drug-resistant TB is much worse…
“MDR-TB is now a time bomb,” said Ms Lucy Chesire, a prominent Kenyan tuberculosis activist last week. “People have been panicking about such scares as swine flu, but this is far worse.”
- The fear now is that MDR-TB could degenerate into the so-called XDR-TB, or extreme drug resistant TB, a form that cannot be managed by even second-generation medicines. Thousands of cases of XDR-TB are being reported in South Africa, and virtually all have led to death.
According to the World Health Organisation, Kenya is currently the 13th most TB-affected country in the world, and the fifth hardest hit in Africa. According to the organisation’s Global TB Control Report of 2008, the country had more than 140,000 new TB cases. New cases are reported at the rate of 153 infections per 100,000 population per year, one of the highest in the world.
Health experts say that the emergence of MDR-TB in the country has been facilitated by widespread co-infection with HIV/Aids. Kenya has about 1.3 million people infected with HIV. About 52 per cent of new TB patients are HIV-positive. http://www.theeastafrican.co.ke/news/-/2558/626000/-/r1qvdez/-/ http://www.who.int/tb/xdr/johannesburg_report/en/
Swaziland: TB – 'Declare XDR-TB a National Emergency”
Mantoe Phakathi reports from Swaziland: 22 April 2009 Mbabane that there is considerable pressure being put on the Swazi government to also declare a national health emergency in that country. He quoted Themba Dlamini, the National TB Control Programme manager, as saying that there has been a nearly ten-fold increase in the last 20 years from about 1,000 TB cases per year in 1987 to over 9,600 cases in 2007. Swaziland also has the world's highest HIV prevalence rate, and 80 percent of all the new TB cases also are found to be co-infected with HIV-AIDS.
With the advent of strains of multi-drug resistant strains (MDR-TB) and extremely-drug resistant (XDR-TB) strains of the disease, Dlamini also was quoted as saying that it becomes even more difficult to treat TB patients who are co-infected with HIV.
- “Yet despite the escalating number of TB patients seeking treatment at health centres, there are no clear infection control measures in place in public health facilities. Dlamini admits there is an increasing number of nurses who get infected with TB in the course of duty,” he writes.
Hopes were high that Swaziland would raise an alarm on the disease on World TB Day. But in his official address on Mar. 24, the Deputy Prime Minister, Themba Masuku, remained noncommittal on when the Swazi government would declare tuberculosis a national health emergency. However, Sister Diane Dalle Molle, director of the Cabrini Ministries, an organisation currently assisting 1,500 TB patients in the Lubombo region was quoted as saying that she expected Swaziland to declare TB a national emergency this year. And National TB Programme manager Dlamini also hinted that a declaration may be in the pipeline, writes Phakathi:
- "We needed to do serious lobbying to convince the Ministry of Health and the National Disaster Management Agency (NDMA) that indeed TB is an emergency," said Dlamini. "Now I can say the Ministry of Health is convinced that TB is an emergency but the contingency plan was not yet approved on World TB Day." This was a brief summary. Read entire article on: http://allafrica.com/stories/200904220696.html
‘Our week of racist hell in Nigeria’ –
- Jo-Ann Downs, deputy-pres. of African Christian Democratic Party…
July 19 2009 -- Doreen Premdev writes on the frontpage of the Tribune that a seven-member South African parliamentary delegation has endured a nightmare trip to Nigeria during which specifically the white delegates were targetted by racist abuse and harassment by officials. Picture: the 2009 election ACDP top executes and delegates.
The entire group, mainly made up of KwaZulu-Natal provincial MPs, was intimidated – and especialy their white members were targetted by racist attacks and bribery attempts. Jo Ann Downs, deputy president of the African Christian Democratic Party, who formed part of a Commonwealth Parliamentary Association study tour of Nigeria, described the trip as a week of "racist hell".'
We sat on the airport floor and waited for three hours
The group, which left South Africa on Tuesday and was led by the deputy speaker of the KwaZulu-Natal legislature Mtholephi Mthimkhulu, was accompanied by Downs, as well as Lindiwe Bebee (African National Congress), Makosi Nthuli (ANC), Richard Mthembu (ANC), Blessed Gwala (Inkatha Freedom Party) and Ben Ngubane (ANC).
They immediately encountered problems upon arrival in Lagos. Speaking to the Sunday Tribune from Nigeria before her return on Sunday, Downs said the delegation, as well as delegates from other African nations, have expressed"disgust" at the behaviour of some Nigerian officials.
- "When we landed at the airport we were told there was ‘a problem with our documentation’. A security guard, with a firearm, tried to get us onto a plane back to South Africa, but we were told that we had to wait at the airport for them to sort out the problems. We sat on the floor and waited for three hours. Eventually they allowed us to go to our hotel but we were escorted by officials. “
She also told of an incident at the hotel, ‘where an official sjambokked (whipped) the driver of their car, in an attempt to intimidate us."
Ordered not to leave the hotel:
Downs said the delegation stayed at the Sheraton Hotel in Lagos on Wednesday night and checked out on Thursday. She said they were given strict instructions not to leave the hotel ‘unless they were going out on official business’.
Downs grabbed for taking pictures in Niger Delta’s Bonny Islands oil terminals:
On Saturday morning the delegation was scheduled to visit Bonny Islands oil terminals, in the Niger Delta, (picture) when Downs was rounded on for taking photographs.
"I had my camera hanging around my neck, and a man dressed in an overall came up to me. He was shouting at me for taking pictures. He grabbed the camera and I tried to get it away from him. "We struggled for a little while, and the other delegates tried to intervene. Eventually I gave the camera to him, but did complain about the incident. My camera was returned to me."
Downs said the white delegates were ordered to "get out" of the boat, but the rest of the delegation protested: "I was shocked that they would treat people that way, it was frankly racist “
- “After much protest they agreed to allow the white delegates on board,’ she said.
The delegates returned to South Africa on Sunday.
- firstname.lastname@example.org From article on page 1 of Tribune on July 19, 2009 http://www.int.iol.co.za/index.php?set_id=1&click_id=13&art_id=vn20090719090350470C263637
20090717 Gang steals totally disabled Dr Ceval Mills’ patented electronic voice simulator, shoot down his dad Dr Neville Mills, 63 - critically injuring him…
Jul 19 2009 Hilda Fourie of Beeld newspaper reports:
‘Are you happy now?”screamed the armed gangster afer gunning down Dr Neville Mills of Evander. Dr Mills was gunned down and critically injured when he came running from his room after his wife Ria, 61, shouted when a gunman threatened to shoot their nearly totally disabled son Dr Cival Mills, 34.
Picture: Dr Cival Mills has been unable to move anything except his eyes and the thumb and index finger of his left hand -- ever since he was injured eight years ago in a traffic accident outside Shongwe Hospital near Malalane, where he was working as a rural doctor.
The accident’s injuries left him with the locked-in syndrome (a neurological complication whereby a patient loses all voluntary muscle function except for the ability to move the eyelids). He gained fame two years ago as the winner of Mpumalanga province’s Fundza for Fun (Reading is Fun) writers’ competition for his book “This too will pass’, which sold out its first printing within just weeks. It took him four years to write the book on a laptop computer using his thumb and index finger. He also developed a computer mouse enabling himself to type just as quickly as he did before he was disabled.
Designed patented “Penpal” and “Thingy” voice communicator for disabled people:
Over the last three years, Dr Mills has worked as a researcher at the medical aid schemes Momentum Health and Discovery Health. He developed an electronic voice simulator with which he communicates – and which now has been robbed. This innovative, self-designed IT apparatus functions with controls that are activated with only the thumb and forefinger of his left hand and which he has named Thingy. He is now working full-time to develop two different IT devices that will make computers more user-friendly for other disabled people with (extreme) limited hand function. A patent has been registered on his first design Thingy -- and a grant was approved by the Department of Trade and Industry for its development and marketing. He is currently registering and developing the second device, which he has called Penpal.
‘Do you want to die today?’
Mrs Mill’s daughter Mrs Madie Dittrich, a Pretoria lawyer, said the first words to her mom and disbled brother by the robber gang as they stormed into the Mills home were: “Do you want to die today"?” They ripped off Cival’s patented cellphone he designed himself, and which he wore around his neck, and pushed a handgun to his head.
- “They told my mom they are going to shoot Cival dead. My mom screamed, and this alerted my dad who was on his bed. He jumped up and rushed to the living room – and when the gunmen saw him they shot him down. Then they screamed at my mother ‘Are you happy now?’
While Neville Mills was lying on the floor, bleeding and critically injured, the gunmen calmly took the family cellphones and laptop-computers and strolled out of the sliding door they had broken through to get into the house. Her brother still tried to push the gangsters with his wheelchair but her mother intervened, stopping him from doing so, Mrs Dittrich said. Neville was rushed to Unitas Hospital where one kidney was removed during a six-hour surgical procedure and his stomach, which also was struck by the bullet, required repairs. Mrs Dittrich said that her mom and brother are very traumatised. Police supt. Abie Khoabane confirmed ‘the incident’ and said nobody was arrested.
20090719 Three people killed, four critically injured in Pierre van Ryneveld suburb, Pretoria this year
July 20 2009 -- Graeme Hosken of the Pretoria News reports that Jan Botha, 51, a Pretoria community policing forum member, was the latest victim to be shot and critically injured at about 7pm on Sunday night in an attack at his Pierre van Ryneveld home when he was attacked by two gunmen as he parked his car. It is the sixth such attack on Pretoria homeowners in the past week alone - and gunmen have left a trail of terror behind them.
- There had been a brief lull in the horrifying crime wave by armed gangs in this Afrikaner-dominated suburb because of improved community policing in which Jan Botha also had been closely involved. Three white people were killed including one gunman, four residents also were critically injured in a series of highly aggressive armed house robberies, hijackings and rapes by youth gangs which seem be unafraid of getting caught, and don’t hesitate to shoot people down.
“The robbers were not scared of getting caught…’
Hosken reports that CCTV footage from Botha's home security system shows a white Toyota Corolla driving past his home several times shortly before the gunmen launched their attack. The gunmen, who were armed with a Colt 45, attacked Botha as he walked towards his carport and shot him in the pelvis at point-blank range. The footage shows how the gunmen grabbed the keys of Botha's Opel Corsa, wallet and cellphone as he collapsed to the ground before one of them ran towards his wife, Ronel, as she went outside to investigate. Ronel managed to escape by running back inside the house to raise the alarm. Minutes later, the hijackers drove slowly out of the driveway of Botha's home and made their escape. The gunmen were forced to abandon the car and flee on foot when the vehicle's anti-hijacking device stalled the car. Neighbour Jaco Engelbrecht said he was in his garage when he heard a gunshot. "As I ran outside I saw two men driving slowly out of the driveway in Jan's car. I did not know what was happening and watched as they drove off," he said. He added that the men were not in a hurry and had watched him closely as they drove off. "It was as though they were not afraid of anything. It was as though they had all the time in the world and were not scared of getting caught," he said. He said that when he saw Botha he immediately told him to find his wife as he thought there was someone in the house.
Engelbrecht said he kicked down the front door and found Botha's wife. He then rushed her outside. "When I found her she was shaking. I grabbed her and a blanket and just ran. I did not know if there were more people inside and I wanted to get her out of the house as quickly as possible," he said, describing how they had helped Botha until an ambulance arrived. Ruan Vermaak, Lifemed Ambulance Services spokesman, said Botha was in a critical condition in Unitas Hospital. He said he had sustained severe injuries to his pelvis from the gunshot wound. Frans Esterhuyse, Botha's business partner and fellow CPF member, said they were shocked by what had happened."You do not expect this to happen, especially when it happens to someone who is so involved in looking after other people's security. Jan is very involved in the community and is always looking out for our suburb's safety," he said.
- He said crime had been ‘very low in the suburb for the past couple of months’, thanks to the actions of Botha and others. "We had some problems earlier in 2009 with serious crime, but we were able to get the community to come together and bring it under control. This attack is worrying and I am afraid that what is happening in other suburbs is going to start happening here with more and more violent attacks occurring," he said.
The attack last night saw dozens of community members rallying together (again), closing off streets and searching surrounding open fields in an attempt to track down the gunmen. Two radio reports could be heard and when one of the alleged suspects was spotted running along the highway there was a flurry of activity as people raced to corner the man. However, police said the suspect evaded capture, reports the Pretoria News on July 20, 2009
On April 10 2009, Pierre van Ryneveld suburb was also plunged into similar mayhem after an armed man who was part of a three-member hijacking gang which had stolen a car at gunpoint outside a nursery school in Pretoria, was shot dead after a hot pursuit through fenced-in backyards by citizens' patrols and the police.
Picture of killed gunman : This was taken by community member Cornél van Heerden of Pierre van Byleveld, Pretoria -- showing one of the guns used by the armed hijackers of a mom’s car outside a nursery school in a Pretoria suburb. The suspect gunman’s body lies about 2m away from the gun he used while he was being chased by police and dozens of members of the community-policing forum. see
Police station commander, director Andre Wiese of the Lyttelton police station, said at that time that the citizen's policing-forum members who went into hot pursuit in cooperation with the police patrols, have probably saved the lives of many. He praised them for their courage.
It’s warfare in the suburbs of Pretoria…
And on December 31st 2008, the same section of Pierre van Ryneveld around Melville and Jim Verster streets was also besieged by a combination of police vehicles, a police helicopter and many of the local residents when a group of armed men also attempted to flee through the gardens after an armed robbery.
On January 16 2009, several large gangs of armed robbers also besieged the suburb in a spate of attacks in which two people were shot, a domestic worker was raped and dozens of citizens terrorised inside their homes. Two of these three suspects were armed with guns, and were shooting wildly towards unarmed citizens while running through the backyards, climbing walls and fences, with one even climbing a tree and shooting straight at the citizens from his high perch at one stage…
Young mom’s car hijacked at school:
The Wild West scene started when a young mom's car was hijacked while she was pulled up in front of her children's nursery school in Pierre van Ryneveld. Three armed men had hijacked this unnamed woman's car from right in front of the school, with two firing off shots in all directions to keep onlookers away -- although there were many toddlers inside the school, waiting to be fetched. The gang hijacked the wrong car however: they had only driven 2km when it ran out of fuel - forcing the men to flee on foot into the neighbourhood's well-tended gardens.
With several cars of the SA national police and the municipal police’s dog units all patrolling the neighbourhood searching for the men - also suspected of an armed robbery inside a local home shortly before the hijacking -- the suspects fled into a backyard and had gone to ground. They couldn’t be found for several hours. However at around 9pm, with the entire community now on high alert and in touch with each other through their community-policing forum radios and cellphones, a woman alerted a community security guard to the three men: she’d spotted them, hiding beneath a bush in a neighbour's backyard. Dozens of community members sprang into action, descending on the street and setting up road blocks. The three men fled, with two firing their handguns in all directions to try and keep the citizens and police away from them. Some community forum members, staying in contact with the police patrols, followed the men on foot while the citizens also threw up several roadblocks with the police to try and capture the men. At one stage, one of the suspects had climbed a tree, shooting off his gun and shouting orders to his two fleeing comrades down below. The second gunman was running, climbing fences and shooting straight at the community forum members who were following him, Wiese said, when he ran into one of the citizens, and pointed his gun at this unarmed man. However, a security guard who was involved in the chase, then shot this man -thus saving the citizen's life, said Wiese. Mr Hugo Minnaar of the Lifemed ambulance service said paramedics still tried to resuscitate the gunman on the scene, but he died. His two comrades got clean away.
The men had held a family hostage in neighbouring Moreleta Park earlier in the day: Mr Johan Bester of Moreleta park and his wife, his daughter, his mother and his mother-in-law had all been relaxing at home when the group of armed men burst in and held them at gun-point. They were all tied up and the men took what they wanted and left in a VW Golf. Mr Bester was able to free himself and proceded to give chase after the men. He took with him only his hand-gun and his cell-phone and was dressed only in shorts and socks. He apparently said on the phone, while he was in pursuit, that he would chase them until they crashed their vehicle into a tree. These words turned out to be profetic as the men turned off Hans Strydom drive into Pierre van Ryneveld and then took the corner into Melville street at high speed. Unable to negotiate the corner they drove straight into a large tree on the pavement and all piled out of the vehicle and took flight on foot. From there they split up and it was at this point that local members of the Pierre van Ryneveld Community Police Forum, as well as other local residents took up the chase. Initially only one of the four was captured but due to the sterling work of members of the Lyttleton Police Department, the other three were eventually caught. The trail led them all the way back to Mamelodi where they caught the last member of the group at approximately 21:00 that night.
Marina Bosch shot in leg, driver Charles Smit seriously injured:
In January 2009, local business owner and mother of two, Marina Bosch, was shot in the leg by one of this armed gang attacks and her driver seriously injured. She’d been cashing up during the early hours of Friday morning when three gunmen stormed her home in Fury Street -- shooting her driver Charles Smit twice in the chest, critically injuring him before opening fire on her. Her husband Christo managed to hide with their small children.
Cynthia Uren and children, terrorised in three-hour ordeal:
The attack came only hours after a foiled attack on another unnamed woman in her home, and shortly after robbers had also stormed the home of Cynthia Uren, attacking and terrorising her and her children in a three-hour ordeal. The attack in Uren's security complex home ended when she leapt from her car as the four gunmen raced off with her in the car carrying her family’s household appliances. "I was not going to let them take me. I was rather going to be shot than dragged off somewhere terrible and raped," she said. The gunmen are believed to have returned hours later to attack another homeowner in the same complex where they held him and his family up, robbing them of jewellery, money and cellphones.
- The gang, according to local community police forum members and police sources, is also believed to be responsible for the attack on Neels Kruger and his children during the early hours of Tuesday morning.
Neels Kruger and children under gunfire, domestic worker raped:
Gunmen surprised Kruger's children as they were saying goodbye to friends at the front door of their home. Opening fire on Kruger's children when one of their friends spotted them, the gunmen chased their victims into their Spitfire Street home where they continued firing indiscriminately before fleeing empty-handed when the house alarm was sounded. Security guards who spotted the robbers fleeing along the R21 were forced to abandon their chase when the gunmen shot out their vehicle's tyres.
Less than 24 hours before the attack on the Kruger family, two gunmen attacked a domestic worker in her Collyer Avenue home, repeatedly gang-raping her at gunpoint. Neels Kruger, describing how his children fled for their lives as the gunmen chased after them, said what had happened was frightening. Recalling how the bullets narrowly missed hitting them, he said: "It is only by the grace of God that we are alive. These attacks happen so quickly and when you least expect them," he said. Police spokeswoman Aveline Hardaker, said after these attacks that ‘the police were determining whether the attacks were linked. Police presence has been increased in the area," she said at that time.
Laws for Police Community Forums:
20090717 Afrikaans lawyer Gericke Smit, 29, Pietersburg, murdered ‘demonically’
Jul 19 2009 Marietie Louw-Carstens of Beeld newspaper reports that leading Afrikaans lawyer Gericke Smit, 29 of Pietersburg/Polokwane, was found murdered in his office building in the CBD – bludgeoned in the face and suffocated. “They destroyed him,’ said his sister Natasha Visser after her lawyer father Rampie, had found his murdered son in the storage room of the Rampie Smit building in Hans van Rensburg Street on Saturday-afternoon.
Natasha and husband Phillip drove through the night from their Uitenhage home after hearing the horrible news. Phillip described the murder as ‘demonic.’ “The Lord didn’t create people to be this cruel to one another. To repeatedly bludgeon someone over the head and in the face with a garden shovel, is inhuman,’ he said. Mr Smit was murdered after about 10:30am, when he had gone to the building to pay some workers. their weekly wages The family became worried when he didn’t answer his cellphone. His father knew he had cash with him to pay their employees, and went to search for him in their building. “He only had to pay a few workers. It’s not as if he was carrying thousands of Rands in cash,’ he said. The murdered Afrikaner’s blue Daewoo car, registration DKY 57, has gone missing together with his cellphone – and the workers also were not paid. Police superintendent Moatshe Ngoepe said detectives have searched the adjacent building site and are searching for the suspects, with strong leads. Forensic experts were also still gathering evidence at the murder scene. Phillip said that Gericke was ‘an innocent, gentle and never a bad word for anyone, he wouldn’t even have hurt a fly. His girl-friend of five years, Carla Nel, is deeply shocked by the loss of her friend. He also leaves behind his mother Linda. The detective branch can be reached at telephone 082 414 2088 http://jv.news24.com/Beeld/Suid-Afrika/0,,3-975_2540164,00.html
MPs terrorised in Acacia Park ‘governmental security compound’
Jul 19 2009 Llewellyn Prince reports in Rapport Afrikaans newspaper that even parliamentarians and their families aren’t safe from being terrorised by gangs. Yet the police are treating the gangs with kid-gloves because they often are children of high-level officials who live there themselves.
It has only become known recently that the unnamed son of a high-level Health Department official was amongst four gang members arrested for terrorising and breaking into the homes of Parliamentarians in the high-security compound for MPs, Acacia Park, near Cape Town. Picture of DA MP Dianne Kohler Barnard, left: by Cape Argus.
Democratic Alliance MP Dianne Kohler Barnard, who lives there, accused the authorities of ‘insensitivity’ for not making the arrests public shortly after they occurred. "Utter disgust is the only way to describe my feelings when I heard last night that the thieves, who had been terrorising MPs, had already been apprehended, tried and jailed." The gated village, which can only be accessed by residents with access cards and is under 24/7 police surveillance, has been plagued by crime, including hijackings, breakins, gangs torching cars, and holding wild drugs parties. Police senior superintendent T Asaram, who heads the adjacent Goodwood police station, confirmed that this week, four more suspects were arrested in connection with a large number of crimes. “We cannot release their names because of their youth. They are being charged with possessing a stolen car and drugs-related offences for starters,’ he said.
“Because of their youth?” Suspects are aged between 23 and 26…
- However, another spokesman, Captain Frederick van Wyk, told the news media a month earlier that the four male suspects all were aged between 23 and 26 while confirming two cases of housebreaking in June: the homes of ANC MP Cecil Burgess and DA MP Ena van Schalkwyk. Another DA MP, Cobus Schmidt, also had a lucky escape when he arrived home and caught robbers in the act of burgling his house, causing them to flee.
The Acacia gang is expected to appear in the local magistrate’s court on 28 July, he said. The Democratic Alliance ‘s chief whip, MP Willem Doman, who also lives there, confirmed that at least seven MPs homes were broken into and looted. “Those aren’t the only crimes here.
Youths also torched six MPs cars last October after a party got out of hand. That same month a gang broke into MPs homes and robbed their car radios.’ He ‘s already lost two car radios he said. About the current wave of break-ins, he said: “Before their arrest this gang conducted a ten-day terror campaign in Acacia Park. It only stopped once they were arrested. He said the homes of MPs were being targetted irregardless of their political affilitations. He confirmed that a Health Department official’s son was also arrested with the gang – the youth was living there with his mother, but it’s not known where the official has his residence. The youth already has a criminal record and had served time in prison.
“Every year, some gang terrorises us here, and every time, local residents are inevitably amongst those who are arrested for these crimes,’ he noted. The ANC chairman for the National Executive Committee, Ben Skosana, who also is responsible for the security and housing of the MPs, said he has held a meeting with the West Cape police chief commander Mzwandile Petros about the ‘criminal elements in Acacia Park.’
- “I know about the recent breakins and the four arrested suspects,’ he said. He said the parliamentary compound is protected by extensive security measures, including the fact that people need access cards to the village. “We are also working on an advisory to make MPs more security-conscious,’ he said. “MPs are going to have to accept responsibility for their security.’ http://jv.news24.com/Rapport/Suid-Afrika/0,,752-2460_2539976,00.html http://www.int.iol.co.za/index.php?set_id=1&click_id=13&art_id=vn20041104125830174C626242
However, The Argus newspaper’s investigative journalist Bronwynne Jooste reports that there still are no proper security measures in place at the parliamentary village, despite a spate of crimes in the area. “Police on Tuesday arrested the son of a health department official in the wake of the latest crime spree to rock the specially reserved
Goodwood neighbourhood. Yet, when a Cape Argus team visited the area on Thursday, they were never stopped or asked to identify themselves and could come and go as they pleased….’
She reports that the Acacia Park residents, mainly members of Parliament who live there while Parliament is in session, are at their wits end about how to improve security in their village, after years of being victims of burglars and vandals…. she writes. http://www.int.iol.co.za/index.php?set_id=1&click_id=13&art_id=nw20090703081251447C239042