Taxi Striks before 2010

MAYHEM erupted as hundreds of striking taxi drivers ran amok early yesterday, hurling stones at offices and passing cars, attacking municipal workers, setting a vehicle alight, blocking rush- hour traffic and crippling businesses in Nelson Mandela Bay.

Amid widespread condemnation over the wave of violence, urgent talks between city officials and taxi representatives collapsed late last night with defiant drivers vowing the wildcat strike would continue today, leaving thousands of commuters stranded.

Police, who yesterday drafted in reinforcements including the crack flying squad and rapid response unit members, will be on “high alert”. Police Captain Rassie Erasmus declared: “We will not let taxi drivers hold the city to ransom”.

The drama unfolded yesterday when more than 300 taxi drivers opposed to the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system being implemented for the 2010 World Cup blocked major roads including the N2 freeway near Bluewater Bay and the Uitenhage road near Vista University.

Police arrested six people for public violence and confiscated “a number of taxis blocking the roads”. Motorists were left fuming in long traffic jams while many commuters were unable to get to work.

Traffic police and SAPS vehicles were stoned while a municipal vehicle was set alight outside Brister House in Govan Mbeki Avenue.

Police spokesman Captain Johann Rheeder said about 30 men ran up to a municipal car and smashed the windows. “They poured petrol on the car and set it alight.”

Yesterday‘s havoc follows an orgy of violence and looting, which raged in several parts of the city last November, leaving one person dead and others injured.

Police in Nyalas were deployed to quell the protests and officers were forced to fire rubber bullets to disperse crowds.

Nelson Mandela Bay municipal spokesman Kupido Baron said last night: “These violent actions do not belong in a peace-loving society.”

He added that workers at a BRT construction site in Govan Mbeki Avenue were attacked and offices stoned.

However a defiant metro public transport forum spokesman Melekile Hani told The Herald last night: “We are pledging our solidarity to our comrades. We are not going back to work! Until the municipality agrees to suspend work at BRT sites, and we secure the release of our arrested comrades, the strike continues. We apologise to commuters, but they must understand we are at war!”

Meanwhile, Port Elizabeth Regional Chamber of Commerce and Industry chief executive Odwa Mtati said the strike had “succeeded in causing maximum disruption” to businesses. “The shock of it was that no warnings were issued, so it‘s been very disruptive, especially since large parts of the industry only re-opened on Monday.”

The motor industry, particularly General Motors SA, was hit hard. GMSA spokesman Denise van Huyssteen said: “We are disappointed by the surprise strike, which has impacted on our ability to assemble vehicles.

“We only resumed full operations yesterday following a four-week break. Such actions send negative signals about doing business in this country, particularly at a time when we should be promoting political and economic stability.”

Eveready “definitely felt the impact of the strike”, spokesman Curt Bosman said. “Our workers on the afternoon shift have to leave earlier because they won‘t find taxis later, so we‘ll have to stop production. We might not even have nightshift.”

The DA also condemned the violence and chaos. Eastern Cape transport spokesman Pine Pienaar said: “The situation is just not acceptable”.

Kupido said the strike was especially disappointing “since this disruptive behaviour followed after an important meeting on Tuesday between the mayor and the industry.

“A task team consisting of representatives of the taxi industry and the municipality was established with the sole mandate to prepare for a transport indaba which will address the concerns of role-players in the industry.

“Despite this progressive step, some members of the taxi industry still went ahead with strike action and as a result inconvenienced many commuters who unfortunately rely solely on public transport.”

source : The herald

Smart readers budget to beat the money bite

WHILE it‘s a symbolic fresh start for some, January is traditionally also a time when the financial hangover is at its worst for many.

Rhodes University psychology Professor David Edwards says more often than not, people find themselves in financial difficulty at this time of the year.

January‘s money woes are compounded by the typical over-indulgences of the Christmas period – many families have gone into debt by forking out for gifts, going on holiday and entertaining.

To make matters worse, January brings the reality of having to pay school and university fees and buy stationery and uniforms.

Last year‘s credit crunch is lingering while some families – such as those employed in the beleagured motor industry – have been forced to spend more time on holiday with less pay.

A snap survey by Weekend Post revealed many Eastern and Southern Cape residents were feeling the pressure – but the current economic climate had also forced them to be more budget-savvy.

Government employee Belinda Buck, from Bethelsdorp in Port Elizabeth, said January was “a stressful month for me. We got our December salaries at the end of November already (and) before it was even Christmas, you noticed that your pockets were empty”.

But she had been disciplined enough to set aside money for school expenses for her child.

Melany Bellingam, a Uitenhage sales consultant, said her family always overspent over the festive season. She was worried about money “because I have to buy school- clothes for my daughter and son”.

“The first two quarters of the year are definitely going to be tough. However, I did my level best to pay off my debts (at the end of last year). I‘m starting the year with a clean slate.”

Unemployed Harish Chavda, from Uitenhage, said because of festive- season expenses he‘d have to “take out a loan to pay my son‘s college fees”.

Single mom Patricia Roos, of East London, said her “biggest financial outlay” this month was high water and electricity bills. However, Roos, said: “I don‘t mind paying for school fees and stationery because education is the future for our kids.”

Back in Port Elizabeth, self-employed Themba Mosi, of Central, said past experience had made him “cautious” of how he spent his money. “I started 2008 on shaky ground because I didn‘t budget very well. That taught me a lesson … you‘re skating on thin ice if you don‘t budget.”

Mosi said he‘d already bought uniforms and other school necessities for his two daughters, adding: “I decided to do everything in advance for this year. I didn‘t go anywhere during the festive season … I stayed in PE and saved money”.

Angie Hewu, a stock controller from Zwide, Port Elizabeth, said: “I always plan ahead for January because I know things get hectic with finances.”

Forest Hill security officer Qondiswa Kalipa said she‘d countered festive-season overspending by buying her children‘s school clothes, stationery and other necessities early in December when they were more affordable.

Felicia Young, who moved to Knysna eight months ago from Humansdorp, said: “With the high food prices it really is a headache. We have a baby and a 12-year-old daughter. It is better with the petrol prices (coming down), but food is still so expensive.”

Peggy Dlephu, an artist living in Knysna, said January was a battle.

“I don‘t have children but I‘m responsible for a child whose father died. I pay for everything because the mother can‘t afford it.”
source Weekend Post

Cricketer Monde Zondeki

THE first day of school is a day some of us never forget. Remember when you were dropped off on your first day at school and you cried so hard and would not let go of mommy’s hand?

trufm presenter DJ Pastor (Phiwe Nozewu) remembers his experience, over 20 years ago, like it was yesterday. Pastor speaks about his first two days at school at Dower Primary School in Uitenhage.

“On my first day I cried, so I went straight back home with my mom. I went back the next day and I guess the idea had sunk in, because by the break I had forgotten about going home,” he said.

Uviwe Tuswe, of Khanyisa High School, was one of the province’s top achievers for 2008. He said initially he did not understand the purpose of going to school but just wanted to go out and play.

“I was with my cousin, so I felt safe. We were both going to Grade 1 and (the) excitement we felt that day … It was unbelievable,” said Tuswe.

Cricketer Monde Zondeki said that he was nervous about his first day at Dale College. “I was always at a boys’ school but was worried about being bullied. The fact that I was with all my primary school friends helped and made the whole experience less daunting,” said Zondeki.

Boxing trainer and businessman Mzi Mnguni shared his experiences at Khwezana Lower Primary School in Alice. His first challenge was to prove that he was old enough to be there by putting his arm over his head to touch his ear.

If his hand could touch his ear, then all was well.

“I wanted to go to school because everyone who went to school got new clothes. I was relieved about not having to go to the fields to look after my family’s cattle. Upon our arrival (with a group of friends), was the shocking realisation that we would be separated. When I saw other kids crying I knew that this place wasn’t what I thought it would be,” said Mnguni.

Buffalo City mayor Sakhumzi Caga spoke about his first day at Chuma Lower Primary School in Mdantsane. “I was scared and confused. I had not even been to pre-school and my mom just left me there. At break time I had no problem playing with the other kids but during class time I wanted to go home. Even though the teacher tried to make sure that we enjoyed ourselves, I felt confined,” said Caga.

source Daily Dispatch

My Dedication

I dedicate this piece of work to all who love and appreciate poetry for those who dare to differ and are proud of, where they come from and what they became for those who are not afraid of change……..

From: A dreamer
To: A little angel

Title: Even if. (I had a chance to change a single word….. I wouldn’t)

Author: Yusuf Moses. But best known as a Dreamer

Ex-Bay woman blooms in Cope limelight

FOR a woman thrust into the political spotlight as the third in charge of newly formed Congress of the People (Cope) three weeks ago, Lynda Odendaal, who hails from Nelson Mandela Bay, shows no sign of slowing down anytime soon.

Standing little over 1,5m tall the diminutive Odendaal, 44, has already shown her size has nothing to do with her political stamina, working almost non- stop during the most crucial time for party campaigners – the build-up to this year‘s elections in May.

“The first week was a bit of a challenge in terms of media coverage,” admitted Odendaal, who now lives in Johannesburg. She was speaking to Weekend Post in between busy meetings on Thursday.

“The (frantic way of life) is natural now, except for the media attention. But it‘s important we communicate with our members and potential members and I want to maintain that.”

Having grown up in Uitenhage where she attended Riebeek College, Odendaal later went on to study at commercial college Beckleys in Port Elizabeth. Then she wasted no time in getting into business.

“I‘ve been in commerce for the last 20 years,” she said.

She left her position as chief executive of Network Support Services, an information and communication technology company, to focus on her burgeoning political career.

An enterprising business woman, Odendaal also owns recruitment, development and human resources companies which she keeps an eye on while not strategising with party officials ahead of Cope‘s election manifesto launch in the Bay on January 24.

But she insists her foray into politics was never planned.

“I haven‘t been actively involved politically up until now,” she said. “I‘ve been more involved with issues like women‘s rights and transformation and I still want to play an active part because there is still a lot to be done in these areas.”

Despite her hectic schedule, Odendaal managed to spend some quality family time over Christmas, quietly sneaking back home to visit her parents Anna and John in Uitenhage from December 24 to January 4, with her husband André and 12-year-old son. She also has three grown up children.

“I was in church with my parents on Christmas Day. I sneaked in and spent some time with my family. It‘s important. You never know when you‘ll get that time again.”

The decision to name her as the second deputy president of the party came as a shock even to Odendaal who found out about her new position just hours before Cope was officially launched in Bloemfontein on December 16. Many had expected ex-ANC Eastern Cape Amathole region chairman Mluleki George to be third in charge, but he was named national organiser instead. Since the launch there has been no let-up from the media wanting to know more about the woman who until last month was relatively unknown.

Observers believe Odendaal‘s appointment was a deliberate bid to attract voters looking for a different profile to the ANC, as well as to further Cope‘s bid to be “an inclusive” party, rather than appealing to any one race group.

With her pale face and blonde hair, she stands out among the Cope leadership previously associated with the ANC.

While she burst onto the scene in a similar fashion to US Republican vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin, Odendaal by contrast speaks with clarity and a definite strategy.

Having begun work with the party behind the scenes after being moved by a radio interview with Cope president Mosioua “Terror” Lekota, Odendaal said it was Lekota‘s talk of change which struck a chord.

source Weekend Post

Women’s Day Inspiration conference generates R800 for Friends of the Uitenhage Town Library

Mrs Elizabeth Muller received R800 cheque from Yusuf MosesIn August 2008 I hosted the first annual Women’s Day Inspiration Conference in Uitenhage. This fundraiser collected R800 for the “Friends of the Uitenhage Town Library”, which was handed over to Mrs , the Senior Librarian, who also supported this project from the very beginning.

How did we decide to give the funds raised to the Uitenhage Town Library over any some other worthy cause? Well it was easy because this place was my only source of information during and after school. I received the benefits of studying and the same material and resources were made available like at any tertiary institution. This advantages I reaped is freely accessible for nothing more than your South African ID document and a small annual membership fee. By acting on what was available I conveyed my appreciation for learning.

For the previous five years I worked at Inergy Automotive System assembling fuel tanks. I spent eight hours a day, five days a week working for money. I treasured, appreciated, and loved every single Rand I earned in wages. Sometimes I worked overtime and if it was not my shift I would swap with someone else, just to work overtime. That is how far I would chase money. The harder I worked, the more selfish I became. This was true not only for others but myself as well. So people usually considered me a stringy person. And I would defend myself by saying I am not stingy, I am just saving for a brighter day. One thing I stayed away from was any form of gambling. And therefore I never cared about playing the lottery because I felt it was a waist of good money.

Than I started a company called YKM Events & Marketing because I wanted to earn an extra income and keep even more money for myself. People didn’t believe they had enough money to make their dreams come true. I organised weddings and 21st birthdays for people on reasonable terms. YKM was my second source of income and I minimized the costs for my clients while making a good return on investment. I worked with people from all walks of life; some were in low income brackets, while others earned high income. In August 2008 I made a bold move to leave Inergy Automotive Systems and sell my share in YKM to my previous business partner. YKM really changed my life and opened up my eyes. It allowed me to see things I never saw before and find out giving was a good thing.

On Thursday, 14 August 2008, I fully embraced my charitable side by handing over the cheque raised in the Women’s Day Inspiration Conference a week earlier. The Uitenhage Town library will use the money to continue with their good work in helping people less fortunate. These are the people like myself who have the urge to become something better although they do not always have the means to do so. Handing over the cheque I could see the faces of the chairman, Mr. T.G. De Beer, secretary, Mrs. L. Lerdon, the treasurer, L. Terblanche, assistant treasurer, G. de Beer , committee member, T. England, L. v.d. Merwe, H. de Beer, G. Timms, light up with appreciation, gratitude and new inspiration to continue their great work.

Mrs Elizabeth Muller, the Head Librarian of Uitenhage Town Library, thanked us and was overwhelmed with joy for our great efforts.

Uitenhage celebrates Women’s Day Inspiration

This is the story of the first conference where I was the MC, the event organiser, the host and everything else.

“Yes!!! I did it.” I, Yusuf Moses, pulled it off…

I overcame my fear of speaking on a stage. When I got on that stage I felt that I had the power to change the world just with the words that I conveyed and that was frightening. That’s the one thing that made me tremble with fear and made me stutter; however, I knew if I didn’t get onto that stage at that moment I would disappoint all the people and most of all I would disappoint my mother, Halimah Moses, and Mrs Elizabeth Muller. Moreover, I would surely not want to disappoint  Ramon Thomas and make him lose  trust and confidence that he had in me. I believed I had a message, and it was an important one: I wanted to inspire Uitenhage, I wanted to educate them.

That is why I had to get onto that stage. The morning of Saturday, 9th August 2008, I was nervous and in a moment of near panic I felt like running away but deep down inside of me I knew that it would haunt me for the rest of my life. Running would become much easier next time … I would never achieve my dream of standing in front on people and changing their lives.

I am happy that I went through with it because I learned some valuable lessons:

Lesson 1

It is possible for an individual to change the world like Thomas Edison, Mother Teresa and Florence Nightingale. I read and heard such stories about these great people in history, changing the world, but that was “history” to me. It seemed unreal; even Nelson Mandela too far fetched because I had never before experienced that power of speaking to the world. I did not realize that when I stepped onto that stage but…. when I got down after my last words I realized that one person can change the world.

Lesson 2

People want to help you succeed. There were people that I met not long before my big women’s inspirational day who went out of their way to help me succeed. Every time that I had to ask someone something, I reflected on whether I would be willing to do that for someone else? Then I would answer, “Yes, but that is not me.” That’s when I started to doubt them. Yet that’s when I learned to put my trust in what people say and to believe that they would follow through. (I learned to trust people again.)

Lesson 3

I learned to appreciate everyone I knew. For the first time I really appreciated the people that came and I could help them to help themselves even more. But the greatest reward was seeing the faces in the crowd wanting to hear more of what I had to say. It was people like Mr Antony Larter, telling Ramon, “It will help Yusuf if we clapped a bit.” It was Mrs Muller nodding her head when I said, “Never let anyone take away your dignity”.  Women are dream builders.

It was Mrs Olwen Carson running around at the very last minute for me, Yusuf Moses, whom she had met just a few days ago; she had known nothing about me, yet there she was helping me find a “tea pot” for the event. I can still feel the lump in my throat and tears welling up in my eyes but I kept them back because I felt that I would still need to approach a thousand more people and I had to be strong when I met them.

There was Mrs Gretal Olivier who came all the way from Alexandria telling me that it was not my fault that this public speaking was a fear to me; at her school it was part of the curriculum and if it had been a part of my curriculum a few years back it would not have been a fear. It was people like Mrs Karen telling me, ”You did a great job organizing this much needed yet so neglected event”. I could see the pride in my mother’s eyes. Only a few days earlier I had told her that I was resigning and I could see her dream of me working at a factory for 10,20 or even 40 years being shattered.

Now she proudly told me, “Yusuf, my son, you are now an adult and I can no longer choose for you. But remember I will stand behind you in whatever you choose to do with your life, because you have never let me down before”. I will never ever forget these timeless words that she said. It was for Mrs Lizy of the friends of the Uitenhage Library just smiling with appreciation. It was for Gareth whom I work with for telling me, “Hey, bro, just relax”

Techno-wise teens flock to stores for “Twitter-tracking” Apple iPhone gizmo


Apple 3G iPhone South Africa Port Elizabeth UitenhageTHE eagerly-awaited Apple iPhone, released earlier this month complete with all the frills and fancies craved by gizmo-lovers, has seen cellphone stores in the Eastern and Southern Cape cleared out of their stock by frenzied buyers.

Not only are the young- at-heart clamouring for the latest cellphone toy which sells for R9000 for the handset on its own or R2000 and more on a two-year contract, but youngsters are also managing to get their mitts on the prized gadget.

Already some teenagers’ relentless nagging has paid off with brow-beaten parents flocking to stores en masse to buy the product for children as young as 14 years old, according to sales staff.

“We’ve had a lot of interest from Apple (company) fans who are familiar with the brand. The younger age group are our biggest buyers,” said Naasig Seharnick, a Port Elizabeth cellphone salesman at Cellucity. “Parents come in and pay cash for the phone.”

As if a complete library of music or photo albums was not enough, the phone also gives frequent Twitter updates“, short, SMS-like sentences stating what friends are up to throughout the day on the internet, as well as users’ global positioning system (GPS) co-ordinates.

East London cellphone salesman Renier North said despite the option of other cellphones which could do “similar things”, the iPhone was still coming out tops, especially among Apple technology lovers.

George salesman Geovan Theron said his customers chose the handset over all the others available. “With the iPhone you are getting the raw product that you can download applications for, so you can choose what you want,” he said.

And although better-halves might be occupying second place to the shiny toy, they can feel treasured as its handy GPS positioning means they can check up on their loved ones day or night, with their current co-ordinates posted on the internet via Twitter.

But with the lightening release of new technology comes the quicker pace of replacements, with website giants Google on the cusp of releasing their answer to the iPhone, the G1, or Google phone, heading to South Africa next year.

Techno-junkies say it’s bad news for Apple, but good news for consumers.

For those wanting to read a first-hand iPhone user’s account, log onto Justin McCabe’s blog and scroll down to the iPhone blog entry.

source: Weekend Post

Uitenhage’s Concentration Camp history

Uitenhage Concentration Camp: GHOSTS OF WAR: A monument in memory of eight adults and children who died in Uitenhage’s concentration campBEING one of the oldest towns in the country, Uitenhage is steeped in a rich history. But few know it was home to a concentration camp during the Anglo-Boer War between 1899 and 1902. Chairman of the Concentration Camp Trust Superintendent Kallie Calitz is working hard to ensure the area is protected and remembered.

“You won’t believe that the majority of Uitenhage’s current residents don’t know about the concentration camp – and it’s in their backyard,” Calitz said.

Situated on the outskirts of the upmarket suburb of Vanes Estate, you will find one lone house with a memorial statue in front of it, which was declared a national monument in 1972. There is another monument made out of high cement walls in memory of the eight children and adults who died in the camp. Calitz said the concentration camp was established because a large number of women and children were dying in a Bloemfontein camp because of extreme temperatures. The new one had to be somewhere near water and a train line.

“Uitenhage was the ideal place because it had an established rail system and there were natural springs,” Calitz said.

The camp was built for 2000 people, but only 1800 stayed there. Although today the site is only four hectares in size, Calitz said they estimate it was about 10 hectares originally. When the concentration camp was built, the town was already 100 years old.

“At first the residents looked down on the people from the camp, but then they realised that these are our people and they started to accept them,” Calitz said.

“For entertainment people went to the camp and played records for the women and children. When the people were given permits to come to town to buy goods, the residents would pick guavas from one of the trees and give them to the children,” Calitz said.

All the houses were made of zinc and wood as opposed to the tents of the other camps. Today, only the house that is believed to have been the commander’s, stands on the site. The rest of the houses were broken down and rebuilt in Port Elizabeth’s Red Location. Peace came in May 1902, but the people stayed in the camp until October. “W here were they supposed to go back to? Their farms (in the Free State) were taken away, their houses had been burned and their husbands shot,” Calitz said.

“Some people moved to town, got married and their descendants are probably still here today.” – By NICOLETTE SCROOBY, source: Daily Dispatch

Jobs boom follows R1bn plan to boost local content at VWSA

UP TO 1000 motor industry jobs could be created in the next nine months in the Eastern Cape following a R1billion investment plan unveiled yesterday by Volkswagen SA and component managers for Uitenhage.

VWSA managing director David Powels said the investments were being taken to “step up to the challenge and opportunity presented by the new automotive production and development programme (APDP) by attracting several key national and international component manufacturers to set up operations in Uitenhage”.

Powels said the R1bn investment came as a result of VWSA challenging components suppliers to “significantly improve processes and productivity levels to both survive and grow in the medium term”.

As a result, five suppliers were already establishing manufacturing facilities in the Nelson Mandela Bay logistics park established by the Coega Development Corporation, adjacent to VW’s Uitenhage factory. A sixth supplier would set up operations at the entrance to the Uitenhage industrial area.

The suppliers are interior plastic components manufacturer Faurecia Interior Systems, metal pressing parts manufacturer Bloxwich Industries, side mirrors and cables manufacturer Flextech, bumper systems manufacturer Rehau Polymer, and headliner and door panels manufacturer Grupo Antolin. Nelson Mandela Bay’s Bel-Essex Engineering was also in the process of constructing a new facility directly opposite the Volkswagen plant.

Volkswagen itself announced earlier this year that it would be investing more than R3bn in its own manufacturing and related activities from this year through to the end of 2010. That investment would also create several hundred jobs, Powels said at the time.

Yesterday, Powels said: “Our company has instituted an unprecedented focus on dramatically increasing manufacturing depth and extent of the local component supplier industry.

“The new APDP presents the opportunity to revolutionise the South African supplier component industry which has a long way to travel before it can claim global competitiveness.

“In terms of cost competitiveness, there’s an approximate 20% gap to manufacturers in Western Europe. The gap widens to more than 30% when comparing domestic automotive manufacturing cost structures to those in emerging automotive power houses such as India, China and Russia. There is only one way in which the automotive manufacturing industry in SA will be able to survive in the medium to long term – by securing much higher levels of local content. This includes the need to introduce new technologies and increase the use of local materials in the domestic component manufacturing industry.”

CDC chief executive Pepi Silinga said the initiative would send a positive message to the auto industry and strengthen the position of the region in the sector. “The positive impact of these developments to the economy of the Eastern Cape will be huge. They will bring dramatic shifts in people’s lives in the metro and in the province far sooner than expected.”

The VWSA announcement comes only days after General Motors in Port Elizabeth announced that it would shed 1000 jobs by the end of year, and Ford, with operations in Port Elizabeth and Pretoria, said it would be shedding 800 jobs.

GM shed more than 400 jobs earlier this year and is now in the process of reducing its head-count by several hundred more, with more cuts planned through to the end of the year.

Source: The Herald, Avusa Group News