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- A Stuijt
- Retired South African medical journalist, ex-Sunday Times of Johannesburg.
‘Children of black millionaires can use Table Mountain trail’s ‘Peoples Hut’ – but children of poor white families cannot:’
Cape Town - More white hikers who were refused accommodation on Table Mountain on racial grounds have now come forward after two Afrikaner students complained about being denied access to accommodation in the state-run national park before Christmas, AfriForum said on Monday.
The civil rights initiative AfriForum had lodged a formal charge of racism with the SA Human Rights Commission against the Table Mountain Natonal Park in December, after two white students were allegedly barred from the national park on Christmas Eve because of their skin colour, said Kallie Kriel, executive officer of AfriForum. The charges were lodged on behalf of their father, Stef Terblanche of Tableview in Cape Town after his two sons Etienne, 21 and Stiaan, 19, took a hiking tour during which they tried to stay overnight at the publicly-funded Peoples Trail Hut. (aerial photograph of the trail left)
This inexpensive hut has basic sleeping facilities for larger hiking parties, a barbeque and a shower. The two brothers phoned the number located at the hut to make their reservation in advance. However they were told by telephone that this overnight-facility was only reserved for black people, not for whites. Apparently the ýouths’ Afrikaans accents over the telephone were used to profile the youths being pre-judged as ‘whites’ and thus not ‘eligible’.
The trail the youths had hiked on starts at Constantia Nek Circle. continued up Disa Gorge through indigenous afromontane forest, winds its way through the fynbos landscape to the People’s Trail Hut on the Back Table. The People’s Trail Hut is available at R30 ($3) a night, while other, more luxurious accommodation on the mountain costs R800 a night, said AfriForum in its statement. view available facilities on Table Mountain: http://www.tablemountainwalks.co.za/booking.html#table_mntn
Kriel said it was ‘worrying’ to experience the State’s obsession with race – which now even manifests itself in student-accommodations on the taxpayer-funded Table Mountain National Park.
“Youths who just started their school careers under the New South Africa now are treated as second-class citizens by Table Mountain National Park only based on their skin colour. No inequalities from the past can be ‘readjusted’ by maintaining racial quotas on Table Mountain because even the children of black millionaires can use these student-lodgings, while poor students from other communities are barred from these facilities,’ he said.
SANPARK spokeswoman Evelyn Holtzhausen commented however that the facilities on the mountain are ‘for everyone. We are aware of these complaints and these will be thoroughly investigated to clear up this misunderstanding, ‘ she said. http://www.afriforum.co.za/?p=3877
Deputy chief executive of AfriForum, Alana Bailey, said she had received about five additional complaints from hikers who had similar experiences as far back as two years ago. However, many of the complainants did not keep track of the exact dates the incidents occurred or exact details. This would make it difficult to add these complaints to the Terblanche's, she said. The SAHRC on Monday confirmed it had received AfriForum's complaint about the incident in December."Since details about the complaint had become known, AfriForum has heard from more hikers who had similar experiences being denied accommodation at the hut based on racial grounds."
"Though the park denies that this is the case, its website also states that the cost of accommodation at the hut is R30 per person [for both adults and children] per night for 'previously disadvantaged groups only'," AfriForum said in a statement.
Accommodation at the hut is available for R30 ($3) per night while accommodation on the mountain generally costs around R800 ($80) per night, it said. AfriForum said it would take the matter to the Equality Court should the SAHRC fail to treat it with the "gravity it deserved".
- By 2008, 1-million of the 3-million white Afrikaner minority were legally unemployable, desperately poor and living in squatter camps: http://www.digitaljournal.com/article/263651
January 4 ,2010 - The 2009 December road-death toll is higher than for December 2008. This was said by a driving-skills company director, Rob Handfield-Jones, who disputes government claims that there were less fatal accidents in December 2009 than in December 2008’s.
Once again, dedicated paramedics of the emergency services and the country’s overworked medical staffers at the hospitals’ trauma units were overwhelmed by the many traffic accidents: initial statistics indicate that at least 1,050 people were killed on South African roads during December 2009 alone. That ‘s more deaths than December 2008’s road-death toll – contrary to earlier claims this week by transport department officials, said Handfield-Jones.
The preliminary stats came from the government’s transport department on Saturday and said that in 2008, more than 14,000 people were killed on South African roads, ( population 50-million+.) Compare this with the international road-fatality charts- which show the highest death-toll as being at an annual 37.261 (the USA, population 308-million+, ) http://www.internationaltransportforum.org/irtad/pdf/longterm.pdf
According to the preliminary South African death toll reports from December 2009, there were 1,050 road-deaths -- 276 drivers, 419 passengers and 355 pedestrians -- said departmental spokesman Logan Maistry (telephone ZA 083 6444 050).
Picture by ER24: The December 2009 road-deaths totalled 1,050 - thus more people were killed during the holiday season in 2009 than the 908 road-deaths officially registered in Dec 2008…
The number of injured people taken to hospitals for emergency treatment were not presented in his statement.
"Speed has been reported as a major contributory factor to these crashes," he said. During December 2009 more than 285,000 motorists were fined for speeding. Over 3,000 drunk drivers and 244 reckless or negligent drivers were also arrested. Full Statement by Dept. of Transport and also read
Managing director of http://www.driving.co.za - Rob Handfield-Jones - said in response that the Department of Transport's claim that the December 2009 road death toll was lower than that of December 2008 was however invalid and based on contradictory statistics:
"The department is currently claiming the death toll for December 2008 to be 1, 348; but it was actually 908. The death toll of 1,050 for December 2009 is thus not a reduction, but an increase of almost 16 %.’
Government spindoctors are continuously trying to make the annual slaughter on the SA roads look better than they actually are: three months earlier, another official, engineer Dr Pieter Venter. the co-ordinator for a state-run agency, Africa region of the Global Road Safety Partnership, speaking at the international road traffic safety management conference in Cape Town, also waxed enthusiastically about the ‘positive developments’ in this field -- commenting that ‘SA 'was on the right road when it came to road safety’ – although he did admit that it didn’t look that way at first glance; ‘it might appear that the country was not making a dent in its accident statistics - which last year totalled over 14,000 deaths a year. However there were a number of factors that influenced the figures, including the fact that the collection of statistics had improved tremendously in recent years, and the increase in the number of vehicles and drivers on the road.
He pointed out that ‘the figures could be misleading, ‘because on the ground, authorities were much more prepared in all aspects than we have ever been before’; there had been ‘an increase in capacity of traffic law enforcers and road safety officials’, and ‘local authorities were more involved’. Also positive, he felt, was that the state-run Road Traffic Management ”Corporation” (RTMC) had developed into a fully-fledged lead agency; and that ‘other agencies such as the SA National Roads Agency, and the private sector had come on board. Central government, too, was "absolutely committed. I think we are definitely on the right road," he said. He also pointed out that “three years ago, he would have had a long list of issues in the field of road safety that he would want done differently. However things had changed so positively through the RTMC that there were very few things he would now take issue with.”
Still, not all was perfect as yet he admitted: “I would make more funds for road safety awareness [available]. I think that's something that's lacking in our country," he said. Venter said African transport ministers had in 2007 committed themselves to halving traffic injuries and fatalities by 2015. This, he felt personally, was a "totally over-ambitious" target, and they would never get near that. He himself was reluctant to set a particular goal for South Africa. "What you must keep in mind, if you've set yourself the target to reduce it by 10 percent, in a certain period, to reduce it by 10 percent, you first have to stabilise it, because there's this constant growth. "And people forget about that, fighting against the natural increase you would have in the process."Sweden had set its target on zero incidents, but it already had one of the lowest accident rates in the world, something achieved over many years. "We are a long, long way from that. We're looking at decades. It's a long-term thing; it's not something that you turn around in a year." http://www.sagoodnews.co.za/benchmarking_progress/sa_on_right_road_to_traffic_safety.html.also: 285,000 motorists fined for speeding, 3,000 drivers arrested for drunk driving over holidays also: December 16 2009 Transport Dept. statement: 2,000 drunk drivers arrested: http://www.transport.gov.za/communication_centre_sub.aspx?upd=1&comID=456&ssID=77
- Road rage: cop shoots tax-driver
- Taxi-drivers arrested for drunk driving
- Taxi-company owner shot dead in Soweto
Johannesburg - ER-24 emergency service spokesman Lloyd Krause said a taxidriver was allegedly shot dead by the driver of a car-haulage van in Vanderbijlpark. Paramedics from Vereeniging were called to the scene in which apparently, one of the vehicles’ driver had swerved in the path of another vehicle; the tax-driver then allegedly threw a stone through the other vehicle’s window, and this had angered the other driver so much that the man plucked out a gun and fired shots at the taxi – injuring the driver and a passenger. The passenger is now in critical condition in a local hospital but the taxi-driver died enroute to the hospital, Krause said. This begs the question: will this be recorded by the SAPS as a murder and attempted murder; or will this be recorded by the various different traffic-safety departments as a ‘traffic death?’ http://www.nuus24.com/Content/Suid-Afrika/1435/06a3b0c1a6af4e4d9760c52e232cb41c/02-01-2010-12-14/Taxibestuurder_dood_in_padwoede-aanval
The National Trauma Institute is a non-profit organization dedicated to the funding and development of research addressing trauma injury in the United States.
It is holding its Annual Symposium from August 30 - September 1, 2010
- Venue: Marriott River Center 101 Bowie Street San Antonio, Texas 78205 USA (210) 223-1000 Contact organiser Robert Mazak USA (210) 833-5635 Cell
- http://www.marriott.com/hotels/travel/satrc-san-antonio-marriott-rivercenter/ email@example.com Website: www.nationaltraumainstitute.org \
Description: The US National Trauma Institute's Annual Symposium takes into account the multi-disciplinary nature of trauma care and the components of trauma systems and includes more than 100 presentations on clinical and basic science, management guidelines and outcomes. NTI's unique blend of military and civilian speakers and topics makes its Annual Symposium unlike any other medical conference in the country. Our program this year will include topics/sessions such as: PTSD, Provider Resiliency, Traumatic Brain Injury, Resuscitation, Trauma Research, Anesthesiology, Emergency Medicine, Trauma Critical Care, Trauma Nursing, Craniofacial Trauma, Ophthalmology Orthopedic Trauma and Burn Surgery. One may also contact the organiser at firstname.lastname@example.org
Ms Storm said she and her friends went to camp at the Naboomspruit campsite for a week. “As we drove in, we just knew this place was meant for ‘normal people’, Ms Storm told De Bruin.
“The first night I was playing a board-game with my girl-friend and we both did a bit of cussing. Whenever I won, she cursed, and when she won, I cursed her back. People in our vicinity apparently objected to this. Three days later, Sean Else joined us, we barbequed, we played some music a bit too loudly, and our neighbours complained again. The next morning the campsite manager asked us to rather leave.” Else, who runs the entertainment company Mozi Records, said the ‘campsite clearly isn’t meant for young people. He wasn’t involved in the problem himself he added – he was merely playing the role of peace-maker,’ he said.
“We are all very sorry if we upset our fellow camp-mates It wasn’t our intention,’ he told De Bruin.
Jan 2 2010 - In a Sunday Times of Johannesburg article by Jim Jones, it was revealed that Moscow, Russia police officials have thwarted an assassination attempt against financial journalist John Helmer, left. He also wrote about his ordeal on his own website.
He writes in the Sunday Times that three men armed with guns and fake papers purporting to be from Russia's Federal Security Service (FSB) were arrested after attempting to enter Helmer's Moscow office.
“Helmer, suspicious of the men, had called the police. Under interrogation, the men allegedly told police they were from a detective agency owned and hired by the world’s largest aluminium producer Rusal and its controlling shareholder, Oleg Deripaska. Helmer, who has reported from Moscow for 20 years, has written extensively on the aluminum group's business activities in Russia, South Africa, Guinea and Nigeria.
His latest articles have focused on Rusal's parlous financial state and Deripaska's attempts to avoid litigation over his alleged defrauding of a Rusal co-founder. Rusal itself is chaired by Viktor Vekselberg,an oligarch who also sits on the South African government's Presidential International Investment Council.
On Dec 31 2009, Bloomberg’s reported that United Co. Rusal Ltd. planned to raise as much as HK $20.1 billion ($2.6 billion) in a Hong Kong initial public offering, “paving the way for the world’s largest aluminum producer to pare $14.9 billion of debt.”
In South Africa, Vekselberg and his company Renova have interests in Highveld Steel, United Manganese of Kalahari and Transalloys as well as links with the ANC's Chancellor House black-economic empowerment investment arm. In 2005, Renova group launched a feasibility study into the construction of a ferroalloy smelter in South Africa. The Coega industrial-development zone, in the Eastern Cape, was one of the candidate locations should the smelter project be approved.This follows the creation by the Russian group, with its South African black economic-empowerment partners (reportedly Chancellor House and Pitso ya Setshaba), of a joint-venture company to exploit manganese resources in South Africa’s Kalahari manganese field called United Managanese of Kalahari.
Chancellor House is a South African group of companies active in the mining, engineering, energy and information technology sectors. It is named after Chancellor House, the building where the law firm of Nelson Mandela and Oliver Tambo was located. Shortly before Christmas, Helmer had been warned by the Australian Foreign Ministry in Canberra that his personal security was under threat.
Helmer took the information to the police who, along with the FSB, provided him and his wife with covert protection. When the three would-be attackers were arrested, police found them carrying plans of Helmer's offices, photographs of his wife, of his home and office as well as documents allegedly linking the gang and its agency directly to Rusal. The men claimed that they had been hired to check on the Helmers' whereabouts.
They were employed by Alfa-Inform, a Moscow detective agency. Helmer has been reporting on alleged racketeering by Vekselberg and into the business practices that have stymied Deripaska's attempts to gain stock exchange listings and raise funds for Rusal in London and Hong Kong.
Rusal is the largest Russian investor in sub-Saharan Africa but has recently fallen foul of the governments of Guinea and of Nigeria.
Before the economic crisis, while Rusal's African and Russian aluminium interests were still booming, Deripaska was tagged as the world's ninth-richest man. http://www.timeslive.co.za/news/world/article246670.ece
- other background on current aluminium mining interests in South Africa: http://www.miningmx.com/news/markets/rio-scraps-s.africa-aluminium-plans.htm
Jan 4 2010 – The neatly-dressed body of lay preacher-mineworker Lourens Potgieter was found Thursday-morning in Sybrandskraal near KwaMhlanga township -- 25km from the Ekangala coal mine where he worked.
The man, in his fifties, had one gun-shot wound in the middle of his forehead, and two others in his stomach and chest, said SAPS senior superintendent Pieter Masanga.
Apparently Mr Potgieter was a former Zonderwater prison inmate and had started preaching frequently to the inmates at the Cullinan prison after he was released on parole, Beeld newspaper reported.
“It appears as if he was murdered execution-style,’ said the police spokesman, adding that Potgieter also had suffered two ‘sharp wounds’ in his back -- which ‘indicated that someone had kicked his back really hard”. He was wearing a dark suit, said police. The police investigators picked up three spent 9mm-bullet cases near the crime scene. It has also been established that his car was stolen.
- “We suspect that he was attacked after work at the mine and murdered, and that his body was dumped along the roadside in Sybrandskraal,’ said Masanga. http://www.beeld.com/Content/Suid-Afrika/Nuus/1928/bf509759bc644c5ea6b6e0b05fff92db/04-01-2010-08-44/Lekeprediker_se_lyk_langs_pad_gelos
The annual Dusi-river canoe marathon raises the same health-issues from dirty water every year…
Pietermaritzburg, KwaZulu, South Africa - With the world-famous Dusi River Canoe 50-mile Marathon now less than two weeks away, questions are again being raised about the cleanliness of the Msunduzi River flowing through Pietermaritzburg, writes Sanelisiwe Shamase in The Witness newspaper. In the past, the high e-coli and cholera-fibrio levels have also raised concerns.
Picture right: The badly polluted South African rivers are a countrywide concern and one of the filthiest places in this regard must be Durban (the picture on the right is of a Durban storm-water drain, copied from the outrageous but very accurate rage-blog “Death of Durban).
The water quality is equally poor in Pietermaritzburg -- however the Dusi marathon still goes ahead each year anyway, with so many canoeists falling ill each year that the annual event is referred to as Duzi-guts. However it’s no joke -- especially if canoests ingested e-coli or cholera-fibrio, from which serious illness or even death from rapid dehydration can result. There also are frequent reports of rashes from contact with the river water.
During the 2007 Dusi marathon, at least 260 paddlers were ill after the race, it was reported by the Duzi-Umngeni Conservation Trust. And things got much worse during the 2008 marathon, when nearly half of all 2,000 paddlers fell ill with "Dusi guts" and at least 14 were taken to hospital with chronic diarrhoea, reported the Sunday Tribune that year - which also cited from a leaked government report which warned that nothing had been done to improve the sewage overspills caused by the city’s deteriorating sewage treatment plants for years. During the 2008 marathon’s first day, the water quality monitoring by Umgeni Water revealed serious health threatening levels of e.Coli in the Msunduzi River - in one case more than 1,800 times the internationally accepted safe limit for swimming (safe is 130 e.Coli counts per 100ml of river water).
- This highest reading of 241,900 e.Coli/100ml was from a sample taken from the Msunduzi River at Doornhoek, the end of the Campbell portage where canoeists put their boats back into the river, about 15km downstream from the Darvill sewer works. The government authorities blamed various factors ranging from ‘bad planning during apartheid’ to the seasonal heavy rainfall washing a large amount of human faeces from the riverbanks; overflowing sewage from badly disfunctional sewage pump stations; and each year, there is a ‘serious gastro-bug doing the rounds in the province for several weeks before the race’. Read the medical advice to Duzi canoeists.
DUCT has been carrying out a steady lobby campaign with the Msunduzi Municipality and the state-run water company to allocate more cash and qualified personnel. In 2007, the city only had four inspectors left from the original eight; and only 30 vehicles with an average age of 13 years...
People fall ill from eating river-fish:
This week, one resident, who lives near the low-level Grimthorpe Road bridge in Lincoln Meade, also reported that her children, who compete each year, expressed concern about the filthy state of the water: Her children have been complaining about upset stomachs and people also fall ill from eating the river fish: “It’s terrible. There are even people who fish there and the fish that they’re eating is full of this nonsense,” she said.
When The Witness journalist paid a visit to the section of the river near the bridge on Sunday, plastic bottles, logs, twigs, empty condom wrappers, shoes and a headless chicken were just some of the items found floating in the water.
- Defacating along the river-bank is the most dangerous problem:
- My comment: However those are just the outwards signs, and it’s not the floating debris which poses health-concerns – it’s the high levels of e-coli and cholera fibrio bacteria originating from the huge amounts of human waste deposited by people among its banks each day: after each rain, this human waste gets washed into the river.
Andrew Booth, manager of the Duzi-Umngeni Conservation Trust (Duct) that was initiated to co-ordinate projects with the aim of improving the water quality as well as conserving areas near the river, said the state of the water’s cleanliness is a huge problem throughout the city and it needs to be addressed.
He said Duct has been working towards improving the state of the water - as demonstrated by their numerous river clean-ups - but a lot more needs to be done to make this achievable. He said Duct is more than willing to partner with the Msunduzi Municipality and the Water Affairs Department to work towards the goal of a clean river.
“If you paddle right after a rainfall, you are likely to fall sick…’
He told The Witness that they have “not received any recent reports of people falling sick due to paddling in the river, but ‘usually after it rains the quality of the water tends to deteriorate”: adding that ‘those who paddle soon after are then likely to fall sick, but a few days later [the water quality is] not too bad,” he said.
Low-lying bridges wth piled-up debris…
Councillor Ithiel Ngubane, in whose ward the section of the river near the Grimthorpe Road bridge falls, said “no one has complained as yet, but he is aware of the deplorable condition of this section of the river. It always happens after heavy downpours because the low-lying bridge is situated at the bottom end of the river. When it rains heavily, all the debris from upstream gets caught at the bottom,” he said.
- Ngubane said this problem also occurs at the low-level bridge in Sobantu after a heavy downpour. He said there is a group in place whose job it is to clear the debris after heavy rains.The problem will be attended to before the marathon starts, Ngubane promised.- The Witness
background and previous reports:
- 2008: Municipality ignores Duzi River health problems:
- Pietermaritzburg's municipal authorities and the department of water affairs and forestry (DWAF) are not coming clean on the city's sewer system failures that have resulted in vast amounts of raw sewage spilling into the Msunduzi River.This is revealed in documents leaked to the Sunday Tribune, including results of water quality monitoring by Umgeni Water and associated correspondence in the wake of the Hansa Powerade Dusi Canoe Marathon.Serious health risks from sewage spills are also being downplayed, with possible dire consequences for many people.Disastrous sewage spills are occurring in rivers countrywide but if DWAF's response to the Msunduzi's pollution is anything to go by, little is being done to bring guilty parties to book. http://www.iol.co.za/index.php?set_id=1&click_id=14&art_id=vn20080203093755375C375752
- Duzi river tourist site: http://kwazulu.hotelguide.co.za/Kwazulu-Natal_Guide-travel/kwazulu-natal-hotel-dusi-river-marathon.html